In Clarity all deliverable work is organized in Backlogs. Backlog is the highest possible work organization unit for a single Team. Think of the Backlog as a collection of logically related work - a project, a list of scheduled tasks for organizational division.
Clarity backlog contains Tasks. Clarity backlog is further divided in Stages representing readiness and current state of all tasks in the backlog.
Important Routines, meetings and similar administrative work items are not considered tasks. They do not belong in the backlog. For capacity planning, these items are considered administrative overhead and should be accounted for as such.
During each delivery cycle Team members pull work from Now stage of the Backlog. This process is called Pulling work. Tasks are worked on starting from the tasks with the highest priority.
In Clarity, all Tasks are self-assigned by Team members on "first-come, first-served" basis depending on the area of specialization of each individual member - members should pull and work on tasks they can deliver starting from the tasks with the highest priority.
Tasks should not be assigned to Team members by anyone else except for Team members themselves, specifically - team members must be allowed to pick their own tasks in order of priority.
Assigning tasks to members by someone not themselves, for example Team leader, allows for different biases towards whoever gets to do what work within the team. Despite being arguably more efficient approach for teams with significant differences in terms of seniority within the same specialization, assigning tasks preferentially will eventually lead to lost knowledge and increasing performance issues within the team. Knowledge should be shared and effort should be made to equalize working knowledge so that the self-assignment aspect becomes a non-issue.
Naturally, Team members may skip tasks they cannot deliver due to their specialization. Point of self-assigning tasks is to avoid preferential assignments within the same specialization thus facilitating knowledge sharing between members with different actual efficiency and seniority.
Path of sharing will not only facilitate growth of the team members with impact on eventual efficiency - this approach also provides redundancy, meaning no one function will ever depend on a single team member. This increases stability when composition of the team changes temporarily - ex. holidays, sick leave, or permanently - members switching teams or moving to different organizations.
It is important to mention that above rule is only concerned with pulling new work that has no previous art. It is perfectly acceptable and sometimes even necessary to assign tasks to specific members of the team during the life-cycle of the task, for example, handing over the tasks from an individual with one speciality to an individual with another, such as handover from an individual responsible for production of the deliverables to an individual responsible for quality assurance or a stakeholder.
Remember that Immediate stage takes precedence over Now stage. Work on Now can be postponed while Immediate stage is clear of all work.
Task order in backlog
Task order in backlog is a very important part of Clarity. Prioritization considered it should always be the case that the tasks at the top of the backlog are consumed before tasks at any other backlog placement. Since it is explicitly required to order tasks with highest priority at the top of the backlog too, it should never be the case that higher priority items are naturally ordered below lower priority items in backlog, even if technical means permit.
Task status should also never affect the absolute priority of tasks in backlog.
The goal of task ordering is to transmit with absolute clarity what should be done and in what order.