Don’t bundle tasks – A tale of two stickers

Back in While we’re at it…, I recommended not to bundle tasks, however tempting it might be. In the meantime I gave into temptation and promptly got a cautionary tale about bundling tasks of very different priorities:

I was working on the Retr-O-Mat Print Edition and decided to throw in some stickers (bottom sticker in photo below). While I was at it I decided I might as well create some stickers for my new project as well. (That was not yet the mistake.)


My critical error was to bundle up both stickers in one order, although the Retr-O-Mat sticker was really important to me and the Wall-Skills sticker was a nice-to-have. What can I say, there was plenty of time and wanted to save shipping cost. It seemed like a good idea at the time…
I ordered the stickers and went on vacation.

Upon my return, the finished stickers had not yet arrived. Neither had the finished Retr-O-Mat copies. Both was unexpected and unwelcome, since I had pre-orders and rush pre-orders ๐Ÿ™
I didn’t want to let anyone down.

Out of the two missing shipments, the actual Retr-O-Mat copies were more important so I followed up on them first. When they finally arrived, my head was free to phone up the sticker company. Apparently they had printed both kinds of stickers, but then misplaced the ones. So the Retr-O-Mat ones I really cared about, had been sitting around for weeks. No value without delivery to the customer… In the end they shipped the Retr-O-Mat stickers first and reprinted the others.

But the first batch of copies went out without the nice stickers ๐Ÿ™
This is the much more attractive second batch:


So this was an instance in which I really wished I had taken my own advice…
In my experience this is how it happens in software, too. Bundling makes sense, it saves on $foobar and you’ve got time to spare. Until you haven’t.

PS: Another lesson is not to order print jobs right before Christmas. But I just couldn’t curb my enthusiam.