Friday, October 29, 2021

You're Not Special

You are not special. Sorry.

Well… okay… everyone is special. But the harsh reality is that, once beyond the compulsory school age, no one cares about all your specialness. 

Okay… so your friends and family will care.

But, if you run your own business, your customer does not care how hard it was for you to do whatever it was they hired you to do. They only care whether or not you did what you were supposed to do in the time you were supposed to do it in, and whether you did it well or not.

Your employer doesn't care if you are bad at math. They care whether or not you gave back the right change or if you balanced the spreadsheet numbers. They don't care if you are not a good speller. They care if your presentation is RIGHT. 

So, conceding that everyone is special, the harsh truth is that…

What matters is whether or not you do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do using the right tools and materials in the right way and that the outcome meets or exceeds expectations. 

Monday, October 04, 2021

You Won't Do It Later!

One way to greatly increase the chance that you will fail is to, when facing a task that needs to be done, tell yourself you'll do it later. You won't do it later. Probably.

If you have something to do, and you have the time, and you have the resources, but you tell yourself you'll do it later… chances are you won't.

Granted, timing is an issue. Sometimes, it's just not the right time to do certain things.

But, if the timing is good, and you have the necessary resources to do it, but you decide to put it off… You are in danger of just not doing it.

I have seen this happen literally over a thousand times. Given the opportunity to do something, far too many people say "I'll do it later" but never do.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Agile Life: Final Thoughts

At last, we come to the end of this collection of thoughts regarding using the agile project management system to organize and optimize your life. Truthfully, we diluted the full power of agile in this series and bent some of its principles a bit. But, it is an approach—a vocabulary in the least that, if utilized indeed can lead to better living.

Beginning with coming to understand our purpose… our why-behind-all-other-whys… we can divide our life up into some number of major projects. Some of them are on-going, such as managing our household and our relationships with family. Others, like career development, have discrete steps that can be completed as new ones come along.

With our life organized into some number of projects, we then devise the sprints that need to be completed so as to make progress on those projects. Some are routine and repeated, like paying the bills on time or checking emails. Others are once-and-done, such as finish the class in XYZ that is part of our career project.

All of the sprints for all of the projects are then organized into the burn-down list(s). Those needing attention first are prioritized over others. Some sprints lead to the discovery of other sprints along the way. And routine, repeating sprints show up on the list daily, weekly, monthly… regularly.

Each day begins with a scrum meeting with yourself. (And maybe others?) Decide what sprints must be completed that day and what steps must be taken to see that they are done. As a sprint is finished, check it off the burn-down list (or move it to its place in the list when it next needs to be done).

The daily scrum meeting puts a plan to your tasks. They are not just things on a list. They are things that have to be done that day and are arranged in order by clock and priority. 

Wrapping up each day reflecting on what was done sets up the next day's scrum meeting.

Using ideas from the agile project management system can help you organize your life and lead you to more fulfillment, peace, and satisfaction.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The Agile Life: A Real Example

So, does using agile project management to organize your life really work? It can!

A student approached early last week and showed me a list of all of his assignments for all of his classes. 

"Do you think this is a good idea?" he asked.

I replied, "Absolutely! You have made a list of all the things you need to do. Now, just organize them from most urgent to least. Put things due today at the top and then order them in the order they need to be done."

Later in the week, I asked how it was going. He reported that it was great. He said he had less stress knowing what all he had to do and could attend to things in an orderly way.

This is a perfect example of using the agile approach (whether or not you use the agile words for it). Education was a project that was part of his life. The assignments were the sprints he needed to complete in order to have success within the project. Taking time to make and organize the list was his scrum meetings.

The words you use to describe the process are not nearly as important as the process. But however you describe it, this guy in my class had the right idea.

Organizing your tasks and knowing what needs to be done in what order is a great start reaching a satisfying, peace-filled life. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

The Agile Life: Lay Out Your Sprints For The Day

To manage our lives using an agile approach, we need to extend the concept of the sprint to include both once-and-done items related to the aspects of our lives we have defined as projects and also to routine task we do daily or weekly. 

Things like answering emails are tasks—sprints, if you will—that need to be done on a regular basis. To keep our progress on everything going, we need to fit the routine sprints into the day with and around the project-based sprints.

For instance, you may need to finish a PowerPoint or Keynote for… next week, and to do that you need to find some data… That's a once-and-done sprint. Answering emails and checking in with the family to see if you need to pick up anything on the way home are routine sprints.

You need to do both the routine sprints and the once-and-done sprints!

By creating a prioritized list of once-and-done sprints and then injecting the routine sprints into that list appropriately keeps you moving, keeps you on track to finish all the projects.

Aligning our routine sprints with project-specific sprints and creating a prioritized order allows us to effectively make progress toward our life goals.