Look At The Camera

It’s simple… If you Zoom-From-Home, then: Look at the camera!

I mean… I could end this post right here.

But I won’t… This is just one of a few Remote Facilitation Tactics I wrote about a year ago, where a piece of insight I came to was:

You are either connecting with a person for your benefit (by looking at the person’s image), or connecting with a person for their benefit (by looking ‘at’ the person via the camera).

I seriously think I’ll turn this Public Agile Service Announcement into a rap song:

Continue reading Look At The Camera

Social Supply and Demand

Stop seeking external validation by buying disposable crap made overseas, with its sub-optimal working conditions and carbon footprint from manufacture & transportation & distribution.


Start acting out your truer self and continually making your world a tiny bit better, meaningfully deepening connections with the communities of which you’re already a part.


Please steal this idea. It could save the world. I’m serious. And I call it: Social Supply and Demand. Continue reading Social Supply and Demand

Analyzing Blog For Personal Favourites

I roll up to a seat at the counter of my favourite cafe/bookstore in Boston’s Back Bay, ordering a double cappuccino with a wink and a nod. I tear out a laptop from my purse gym bag. I open up that sucker, ready to bust out another blog post, and pause.

Aaaaand SCENE!

Now, imagine this happening over 100 times.

That’s a lot of double cappuccinos (usually followed by a beer and further followed by a large chocolate chip cookie). That’s a lot of sitting down in front of a glowing rectangle with the intent of not only creating some text associated with the exploration of applying Scrum principles to personal development, but sharing it with folks via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. That’s a lot of pause.

The creative process for me, at least writing these posts, starts with bringing to the table (and propping up against the laptop) an external resource (a poem, a sermon, an inspiring quote, a passage from some book, et cetera), or a theme to explore (kaizen, retrospectives, product backlogs for ScrumOfOne, planning for less, and so on), or a story to tell (getting engaged, moving to a new apartment, lying about how I work for Taco Bell, yada yada yada). From here, it is never consistent.

Sometimes, I’m so excited to get into sharing this thing that I burst through the gates, typing at the speed of thought, usually running out of steam by the time some logical conclusion is supposed to present itself. Coincidentally, this is how I ran cross-country races in high school.

Sometimes, I’m torturously clawing through the empty virtual canvas, dragging myself away from the top of the page, weaving in the good bits of this thing I want to share until I can start getting into it properly. It is painful to watch myself do it… I’ll start way too many analogies that I don’t carry through the rest of the post… I’ll make you, dear reader, read through details that have little to do with the thesis or are entertaining in any way… I’ll spend way too much time on the introduction.

Aaaaand I’ve spent way too much time on the introduction.

Now, imagine that somehow Zeus smiles down on me from Mount Olympus and I finish a post where I deem it worthy of the ‘personal favourite’ tag. As part of learning and relearning from this blog, I’ve read over those posts with this tag, like the bear who went over the mountain.

Aaaaand I’ve started way too many analogies that I’m not carrying through the rest of the post.

If it is a personal favourite, it is because I am particularly proud of the post, and this evidently can be for a number of reasons.

So now that I have analyzed this WordPress category, what have I learned or relearned? I’m proud that I keep writing. I’m also proud that I keep exploring this niche intersection of software development philosophy and self-actualization. I’m also also proud that I am practicing what I preach, creating and sharing. I’m also also also proud that I can accept my own creative output, whether it’s a post where I smile, like this one, or a post where I cringe, like this one.

(And thus, I write about posts that are personal favourites via a post that is very much the antithesis of one. Ironically, this is the kind of self-referential self-amusement that would make this post a personal favourite. I think I’ve gone cross-eyed.)

Plan For Less

Lately, I’ve pulled off this seemingly impossible goal: complete all the things I planned to do per Sprint! My secret? Plan for less.

By planning for less per Sprint, yes, I leave myself open to do more and to go with the flow …of the day. This means a couple of things, and I think of it like an equation:

My Sprint Backlog = low number of planned stories + high number of unplanned stories

To get the most out of the planned stories, I have them associated with my Sprint Goal, which used to answer the question, “What is the exciting new thing I will share proudly with the world at the end of my Sprint?” and nowadays answers the question, “What do I want to make sure I get done by the end of my Sprint?” This sentiment is more practical, more self-serving, and way less stressful, ’cause all I have to do to accomplish this declarative Sprint Goal is one or two small and specific things. A few hours of focus effort, et voilà, I can proudly wave the flag of the Republic of Productivity (I hear David Allen is the Prime Minister).

To get the most out of the unplanned stories, I look in two places.

First, I’ll look at my Product Backlogs. I just look at the top, ’cause that’s where the high-priority items are. If there’s something there that is convenient to do, or that I’m particularly inspired to do, voilà, I cherry pick. These Product Backlogs then serve as reminders of all the cool and/or important things I want to do.

Second, I’ll look… around. I’ll look at anything that is not a list. Whether it is doing something spontaneous or living like a millionaire, most of my Sprint Backlog stories end up being emergent stories as of late. As long as I check in with myself often enough, I can maintain a level of strategic personal growth while embracing… life.

Folks, this is the most empowering version of my ScrumOfOne experiment I’ve found for healthily balancing the Agile constraints of personal development through Scrum, with the dynamicity of daily life.

I’m hesitating to press the ‘Publish’ button. This post just ain’t that funny… it’s not inspiring… it’s not captivating. While it’s unsettlingly dry, I write this because it is settlingly culminating.

Since I cut my Sprintly time-box in half, I’ve had more practice with performing the Retrospective and Sprint Planning per Sprint ‘turn-over’: it takes an hour and change. From the more opportunities to adapt, I’ve removed how I used to feel like a bum for not getting done the things I’d ‘commit to myself’ to doing, and actually get more stuff done. And I’ve been punting on this particular post for a while because this is effectively a report on research.

I used to do shit like this, and it’s been kinda sucky. Now I do shit this other way, and things’ve been way more rockin’.

Oh, that’s right. That’s what this blog is about. Where’s that ‘Publish’ button…