What is Setup / Do / Review?

At a job working for a large software company a few years back, we had theory called ‘Setup, Do, Review’.  This is one of my favorite ways of calculating a schedule, because it means we only have to work HALF as many hours, and we literally get twice as much done. This was a yardstick that we used during the estimation process, that if we had a task that would take 8 hours, we would spend those 8 hours in this way:

  • 2 hours of SETUP
  • 4 hours to DO the work
  • 2 hours to REVIEW the results

By setting up this system, we constantly were making sure that we would LEARN things that would allow us to grow, and by PREPARATION, we made sure that we were organized and prepared before we started.  We believe that by spending a decent amount of time in analysis, we can make sure that we understand all of the risks that we face, and to be sure that every thing that we do is done in a predictable, logical and dignified manner.

By respecting these guidelines, we encourage a framework of learning from what works, and quickly correcting what doesn’t. It’s like an Agile / Scrum methodology for the self-improvement of your own company without all the extra meetings. Spending time in a quick review of ‘What Works’ and ‘What Doesn’t’ that is always our favorite time of the work week. It’s like vacation. But 20 times more productive for all.

This structure is similar to what we have learned in our working with organizations that were ‘Six Sigma’ enabled.  It is an offshoot of the Japanese Automakers, and their ability to be constantly improving.  Companie, Teams and People that are constantly working in an iterative manner can scale to meet the challenges brought about by modern technology.

Setup, Do, Review was the foundation of everything we did