Real Life Agile Experimentation
For the vast majority of the past 4 years of my professional life as a software developer, I have worked in environments that practiced agile software development, and while there are always a ton of challenges, I was always on teams that were dedicated to the continuous improvement that the agile philosophy encourages. More recently, I've been moved into an organization that embraces much more of the waterfall style of development, and I've found myself frequently in the position of trying to explain or defend why I tend to prefer agile... A lot.
As of today, in an effort to "put my money where my mouth is", I have decided to begin an experiment: Using Trello.com to create lists for things like a backlog, a scrum board, and a means of tracking my personal "user stories", I am going to try out managing my own life (and the multitude of things I need to get done) like an agile software project. On Trello, I set myself up with 4 lists on my personal scrum board:
Using Google Calendar for scheduling and reminders, I have set up notifications for myself to go through some backlog grooming on a weekly basis (where I go through the items in my backlog list in order to prioritize them and add detail to make sure they are ready to be worked on once brought over to the To-Do list). I have set myself up with two week iterations, known as "sprints" in the agile world, with reminders coming into my email every two weeks to keep me on track.
Finally, my Google Calendar also reminds me to have a little "retrospective" session with myself at the end of each iteration. The retrospective is where I will reflect over the previous 2 week iteration, and try to take some lessons away from what went well (continue doing these things), and what didn't go so well (stop doing those things). Lastly, I'll be attempting to think of new ideas to try out that might improve the next iteration. In two more weeks time, at my next retrospective, I'll be evaluating those new ideas to see if they are worth continuing on with or not.
So there we go... A simple recipe, which I strongly suspect will be successful... And thanks to the regular retrospective meetings (um... with myself...), I hope to have even greater success as time goes on. Perhaps this will help prevent things I meant to do from slipping through the cracks. Hopefully it will start to reduce issues that surround procrastination. This might be one of the very best things I have ever done for myself, and for my personal organization and effectiveness.
11/23/2014 03:51:07 pm
Jonathan Bachelor. This is an ideal plan. It is the sort of plan that I would set up, work it hard for about two weeks, and then abandon by attrition. What I would need would be for your to stop by my house every week or two and demand that I immediately re-begin my agility. Do you provide such a service, or can you recommend someone who does?
11/23/2014 04:46:10 pm
I had the exact same idea. I also work in a software company and was thinking about using SCRUM for my cosplay projects. Thanks for sharing your approach.
11/23/2014 11:00:47 pm
You inspire me! My husband and I were just talking about doing this together. We're going to use a physical board though like the one Richard Lawrence uses to home-school his kids.http://www.agileforall.com/2014/10/agile-homeschool-update/
I totally dig it, Pam... I wish Trello had a feature for linking stories to a "feature" sort of idea. Since there's nothing I can find like that, I've realized I'll probably need a "slow lane" list as well, for items that take longer than a sprint (like working through a lengthy tutorial with tiny bits of intermittent spare time).
11/23/2014 11:07:22 pm
I really love this idea Jon. I might just steal it for business rather than personal tasks though ... maybe we could set up some accountability as a group and give it a go.
Thanks, Mary! And this whole thing stems from business (usually for managing software development, but not always), so you're just bringing it back home if you use it in business.
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Jon Bachelor: This geek goes all the way to 11.