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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Agile Life: Scrum Meetings With Yourself

If we view life as a collection of projects, and if we decide to organize them within the agile project management system, then we end up with a list of sprints all connected to the various projects.

To keep everything moving, you can begin each day with a "scrum" meeting… with yourself. You can look into the mirror and think about all you need to do each morning as you start your day.

What is necessary for getting ready for work? You'll need to think about what's coming up at work, then as you get ready, tic off whatever needs to be done to get you ready.

What family sprints do you need accomplish? Where do they fit into your schedule?

As you go through the day knocking off sprints, you might think of other things that need to be done. Emergencies might come up.

But starting the day with a plan is your best bet. Organize your sprints according to the priority of your projects, putting the most important tasks before those that are less important.

If you are trying to manage your life using an agile approach, you need to start off "scrumming" with yourself to put each sprint in its proper place.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Agile Life: You're Gonna Need Some Sprints, Part 2

With your life viewed as a collection of projects, and as you begin developing the sprints—the specific todos necessary to complete the project, you will sometimes start a sprint and realize there is some other sprint that needs to be added to the list.

Beginning one sprint will sometimes show you other sprints that need to be done. Suppose you are planning a camping trip (a project), and one of your sprints is to get food. Starting that process will reveal that you need coolers and containers for the food. Obtaining those, then, becomes a sprint in and of itself.

Working through a sprint often reveals the sprints you need to complete.

In sum, the sprints of "the agile life" approach are the todo lists that allow you to manage your life in a harmonious way.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Agile Life: You're Gonna Need Some Sprints, Part 1

If we view life as a collection of projects, and if we decide to organize them within the agile project management system, then we need sprints!

A sprint is a specific task that is part of a project. It is a must-do that, when done, can be "checked off" and which leads to the next sprint on the list.

In our life, every project can be split up into a sprint list. For instance, the on-going project of managing a household might include grocery shopping. In a more long-term project, a sprint might be competing an assignment that is part of a course (where the course is a project that is part of the bigger project to get a credential or training certificate. Or degree).

To keep our whole life in harmony when we view life as a collection of projects, the sprint lists become the daily tasks that must be done to move us forward.

Friday, September 17, 2021

The Agile Life: Life Is A Bunch Of Projects

Applying the agile project management approach to organizing our lives assumes that life is a collection of projects all taking place at the same time. For instance, at any given time, you might be attending to family, career, education, and… say reception, too… all at once.

And, at any give moment, an emergency might pop up, and that would become an urgent project, all in on its own.

With so many things all happening, some strategy needs to be in place so that we can move through life from where you are to where you want to be.

Applying the agile project management approach, is one way to do that. Each project can be viewed as  some number of steps, each necessary for reaching the goal. Within the agile framework, we'll call these todo items sprints.

Viewing life through the lens of agile project management give us an approach that can help make the most out of our resources and move us ever closer to our goals.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Agile Life: What Fits The Approach?

When considering what aspects of your life might fit into an agile approach, the conclusion will be… a lot.

Anything with a specific, defined outcome fits. 

A family trip. A new course of study. Remodeling your house or even just a room. Day-to-day aspects of work…

All that the "thing" needs is to be a multi-step process leading to some definable outcome.

The agile approach to life fits many, many situations.