Notes from my Product Reading

I’m a slow reader.

And then I usually take notes on what I read.

And then I analyze and summarize and consolidatize said notes.

All this extends the reading process, of which I’ve been doing more since I’m not commuting. Thanks Obama Coronavirus. Sometimes, they result in a picture – I hope to share a few of those with you one day. Sometimes, they result in a bulleted list – I will share one with you now, from my reading of Product-related articles.

WARNING: these are not fleshed out ideas – these are bullet points – these are high-level – these are my notes, in a form I can understand, sitting in a list in my Reminders app on my iPhone 8.

Behold my 14 points.

You’re welcome.

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Side Hustling at 4:30 am

Losing your job sucks, especially when it’s your only revenue stream. How do you de-risk the effect of a job loss? Have a job NOT be your only revenue stream. How? Have a side hustle. What? Have a side hustle. No, I heard you the first time, but what’s a side hustle? Makin’ a li’l money on the side. Cool… so what are you gonna do, and how do you decide which of your ideas to tackle first? Let me show you my thinking.

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This is All So Strange, so Give Yourself a Sprint Zero

Have you seriously paused since being told to work from home (because of the Coronavirus) (to enact Social Distancing) (to #FlattenTheCurve)?

Have you seriously paused since your kids’ school closed and now they’re home with you for more of the week, with fewer to no day care options?

Have you seriously paused since your state governor issued a stay-at-home order?

Have you paused at all?

My 4.5-year-old daughter calls this, “an unusual time,” likely because that’s how we’ve craftily termed it at home, and I’ve found that my habits & projects & routine & …’life stance’ are either out of whack, or …not internally aligned. Has your daily & weekly schedule been thrown for a loop?

When school then business then social closures occurred, I folded each event in, like being told the train would be delayed: it’s annoying, now super-annoying, now super-duper-annoying, but I’ll simply adjust my daily & weekly goals & expectations, that’s all, ain’t no thang. Who am I kidding? This is a thang. Have your goals & expectations been more than simply adjusted?

In Scrum terms:

  • Kaizen is not enough – this time is too unusual for small experiments in continuous improvement
  • Cancelling a Sprint is not enough – this time is too unusual for stopping, and then regrouping, and then doing Sprint Planning
  • Sprint Zero feels better – this time is too unusual for anything other than an effort in re-teaming & re-chartering

I recommend seriously pausing. I mean, I’m still doing work-related stuff, and I’m still supporting the school for which I’m on the board, and I’m still the husband & Papa of my family, and for everything else, there’s MasterCard I’m seriously pausing, if for nothing other than to grieve the normalcy that was lost, to take a breath and look around with eyes wider open, and to decide how I want to conduct myself given I have access to good health, friendly faces under a roof, a roof, a fridge of food, healthy food, funds to float us a few months, solid internet access for FaceTiming with my daughter’s friends, water, and toilet paper.

This time is not normal.

This is not a tweak, or a series of tweaks, from a month ago.

This time is seriously different. (I mean, we don’t have WWII-style posters saying how it’s our Patriotic Duty to stay at home) (yet)

Seriously pause.

Seriously pause, be introspective, and figure out how the fuck you want to conduct yourself for these next few months.

And then in a week, pause again, ’cause that shit sure didn’t stick.

POST-SCRIPT

And ain’t this the Agile thing to do?

  • Do stuff.
  • Get feedback.
  • Now ready yourself to do stuff again, incorporating that feedback.

So pausing, while disruptive, is Agile, just at a larger time-scale than Scrum tends to talk about it.

Oh, and know how to wash your hands.

Agile Mentoring

Wanna make a difference? Maybe some money? Look into this under-tapped market: Agile Mentoring. Google it. Hard. Do you see people providing this?

There is pain. You can step in.

I’ve thought about it. Hard. (Twice.) And then put it down. Even harder. (Just as twice.) I even got a domain name, started a Slack group, and recruited some introductory members, deepening relationships while embarking on a program.

Here is my pitch:

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