A Second Life for the Second Wave

As we enter the Second Wave of COVID-19 here in the U.S., I’m reminded of a quote:

We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.

Confucius

We’re all going through a protracted once-in-a-lifetime period of pain & loss, and if the above quote inspires you to make the most of life a little bit more, than this quick blog post wasn’t completely useless.

Stay safe out there.

My Approach to Working Agreements

You probably don’t look at your Working Agreement (“WA”) if you have one. Your team put in the effort, and it’s not fully serving you – what a waste! OR… Your team has never put in the effort, so y’ain’t got one – what an opportunity!

Look… I’m not going to sell you on why having one of these is a useful idea. The following is how I use 45 minutes to get 5-9 agreements a team of 5-9 people can start with, and then we iterate, resulting in a living document.

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Agile Fashion

Do you miss FACE-TO-FACE TIME WITH YOUR COWORKERS?
Me too!

Tired of the choice of either looking at your coworker’s face, or giving them the ILLUSION OF EYE CONTACT via staring into a dot, likely above a glowing rectangle?
It’s unnatural!

Putting thought into your AUDIO & VIDEO SETUP to better approximate pre-pandemic human connection?
This store is for you!

Which store?

This store: DailyAgilist.com

(Am I repurposing the DailyAgilist brand? Maybe. But hey. I’m trying stuff. Like an Agilist. The Daily kind.)

Whether you’ve embraced WFH-ing for a while, or been forced into it recently, try clothing that is DESIGNED FOR READABILITY and OPTIMIZED FOR WEB CONFERENCING.

I’ve put the text as high as it can go on the shirt, which means it should be picked up by your webcam, but it will likely look silly if you’re walking around with it IRL. I’m only offering dark colors, so the white-balancing of the webcam results in it picking up more of you. I’ve selected a typeface for high legibility. The result is a garb that’s SIMPLE. You might think it’s BORING. I think it’s EFFECTIVE.

Expect this to iterate. Am open to feedback.

At the end of the day, this store is an EXPERIMENT in IMPROVING OUR VIRTUAL PRESENCE. With a pinch of fun.

Minimum Viable Performance

Today is significant to me.

12 years ago, today, I started working full-time. I tested medical devices, mostly manually, working my way up a ladder to get “Senior” in my title. Towards the end, I dabbled in Agility as a part-time Scrum Master for my team.

6 years ago, today, I changed careers. I was a full-time Scrum Master for a couple of distributed teams, working my way through much learning and self-discovery to get “Agile Coach” as my title. Lately, I’ve dabbled in performance as a podcaster.

Today, I want to mark a new career episode.

Continue reading Minimum Viable Performance

My Morning Affirmations

‘Twas a simpler time, 2013. I was a couple of years into my ScrumOfOne adventure. The year started with my girlfriend ‘n’ I looking at engagement rings. The Boston Marathon bombing happened, and that same day, after rushing home to find her OK, calmly watching Mad Men after having done her taxes, I asked her to marry me.

2012 was an even simpler time for me. My girlfriend moved in halfway through the year, into a 550 sq. ft. apartment in Boston’s Back Bay, which meant, now that I think about it, the below was written before then. The below was written when I had space to sprawl out notes before conglomerating them onto the back of a business card of a failed venture.

I discovered the below while cleaning the archeological site known as my desk. Holding the business card like a newly discovered Dead Sea Scroll, this artifact revealed how Past-Merrill… really gave a shit. He went through all his notes, archived across journals and Google Docs and physical folders of significance, to squeeze the below onto something portable, ironically to never leave the desk.

Continue reading My Morning Affirmations