ASAP is a swear word

strong opinions

The ASAP acronym is something I have a strong opinion about. I haven't encountered it in a work relationship for quite a while (and was very happy about it), but it reared its ugly head recently, and so I decided to put my opinion into words to understand it better myself.

Resorting to the usage of ASAP in professional communication is similar to resorting to violence when resolving problems in personal communication - it's a tool that should never be used, yet it's really easy to use and thus can be appealing. It's an imperative top-down application of unquestionable urgency that doesn't allow any space for discussion. It also comes hand-in-hand with the mentality of "bringing the solutions" management approach, when managers are telling people what to do and often also how to do it, hence when something doesn't go according to plan, addressing the issue also becomes an imperative command instead of raising and relying on employees' situational awareness.

There are much better ways of getting things done quickly, such as helping employees to understand the project plans and problems, maintain open and two-way communication and feedback channel and share the decisions, plans, problems and their background, so that everyone could relate to the product and act on solving problems vast on their own volition, and recognise and address the priorities. Apart from making people more informed and thus making more relevant decision when building the product, it also raises the responsibility and passion for the things they do, for the product they build and a loyalty to the company - while telling people to do things ASAP does the very opposite.

So no ASAP, please. Let's raise awareness and prioritise things together instead.

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