NYPD Blue, one of my favorite TV shows, just returned to streaming. As I was watching an episode last night, I realized that the scene in every episode where the uniformed officer runs all of the known details for the detective is a great narrative device to move the story forward and get the viewer invested in the episode. I don't think it was invented by the writers at NYPD Blue and it's in almost every police procedural. It usually starts something like this:
Detective: What have you got?
Officer: Neighbor came home to find the deceased's apartment door open. Peeked his head in and found...
From here everyone is level-set on what they need to continue their work.
The same is true for a quick huddle each morning with your team or hallway conversations with project stakeholders. The conversation doesn't need to be more than a few minutes and should include:
- Current status. Or, what did we accomplish yesterday?
- What work needs done today?
- What are our priorities?
- What are the issues or roadblocks?
After a quick plan to complete the work and clear the obstacles, everyone has the resources, focus, and clarity that they need to complete the day's activities.