Throughout my career I have had some successful projects and products (along others that were a mess, I hope I learnt enough from them). When I took stock of what was wrong or working OK, what most people valued was:

  1. I don’t forget anything. I “remember” what everyone said or asked for.
  2. I am able to reach agreements even with the most “stubborn” people.

I am afraid I don’t have an astonishing recalling ability. It is rather a plain simple trick. I just note everything down, then I read it again the next day, move it to my online notes, date it and set frequent reminders in my calendar: Did we get the new password? Did we send the long-pledged information? If someone asks me about anything, I just look into my notes. If that was ever mentioned to me, it should be in my notes, my calendar, Confluence pages or whatever tool I am using at that time.

Although taking into account the considerations from “difficult” people also provided me with great satisfaction. Most are not obstinate or bull-headed, they are just having issues with their request, budget or even their boss. They are worried and want to know you understand them, you are going to do what is in your hand to ease their problems. If you need to get something out from that meeting, do you have something to give in return to the other side of the table?

People just don’t recall if I am using Scrum, a User Story Mapping technique or sending a report with the information on the cycle time or Jira Control chart. They just want to feel heard and know I am not going to forget the preparations for a deadline or fail to solve a dependency for another team. Just listen and note everything down.