Decrease Focus Factor to Decrease Stress

Lately, I find myself over-committing in my sprints, thus, less gets ‘done’. This is due to ‘things coming up’, as vague as that sounds… usually friends I should hang out with and summer activities I should take advantage of, both sets of which arise very soon before an event, not even with a sprint’s-worth of lead time.

…And the Product Owner in me says they are priority over sprint stories. This is frustrating since I then just finish off the smaller stories with the planned larger stories getting untouched.

Transparency & Inspection into my life’s activities have made this clear – and it is painful – it is no fun carrying larger stories from sprint to sprint. It’s the reality, though, so it’s time for Adaptation.

This current sprint for me is a Spike Sprint, where I will split up existing stories into smaller stories to take into account a realistic and decreased focus factor. This is the beauty of the Velocity concept: it is not the team capacity, but the empirically determined ability for the team to deliver.

Business Case

I had an epiphany at work this week. Creating a business case for some initiative can have an analogy in personal development.

Design Change Requests are to business resources (time, money) and business value (profitability) as Agile stories & distractions / impediments are to personal resources (time, money, focus) and personal growth (functionality, mastery).

Thus, I’ve been finding it helpful when a story suddenly arises or a significant distraction/impediment is on the horizon to frame it as if I were convincing ‘the board’ of its business value. What are the time, money, and focus costs? What are the opportunity costs (what am I not working on so I can do this other thing)? How does it fit the corporate strategy, or in this case, Product Owner’s vision: your vision for self?

In typing this up, I’ve realized this is just a particular form of cost/benefit analysis.

Daily Stand-up, Beyond Mechanics: A Measure of Self-Organization

The following are my notes from a Scrum Alliance article – its title is that of this post.

By Bachan Anand, CSM, CSP, he shares ways to tune the scrum / daily stand-up meeting. Building up to a very neat table, he outlines how to run the scrum of a high-performance team in terms of self-organization, focus, collaboration, rhythm, courage, and respect. My favorite example is a solution for one particular self-organization issue, where team members share status as if reporting to managers (ScrumMaster and Product Owner), instead of sharing status with their fellow pigs.

Each time a pig looks at a chicken during the scrum, the chicken should look at his/her shoes.

Google ‘ScrumOfOne’ – Go Ahead

Here, I’ll do it for you. My links are 80% of the first page.

Yes, it is tremendous luck that nobody has done much online with the term ‘ScrumOfOne’, so to secure the Twitter handle, Meetup group name, gmail address, dot-com domain, and then throwing WordPress on there all makes for some relatively simple and evidently effective SEO.

I am tickled pink.

Ruthless Story Completion

It’s finally Spring in Boston! It’s nice outside! I want to BE outside! This yearning is effectively an impediment!

Thus, the balance of a game plan and reality results in a strategy that makes me feel less guilty for enjoying the weather while still accomplishing the most per time spent on these sprints: Ruthless Story Completion.

I am now spending time on getting one story done at a time – this results in two levels of satisfaction. Sure, I get the points associated with that story – a shallow sense of feeling good; however, I then know I have attained a piece of functionality associated with the story – THAT is the deeper level, the fulfillment.