Top Of Mind

Half a year ago, I wrote about how I prioritize my ScrumOfOne backlogs. (Hold my horses… more than one personal backlog, I say? A future post covers this…) What I am finding now is that while, yes, each backlog is prioritized based on its vision, the backlog for the current sprint consists of items that are top-of-mind.

Idealism is great. It also takes discipline. While, yes, taking steps to grow me via my different facets is the road of continual life improvement I prefer to take, sometimes dealing with boxes after a recent move is an itch I feel I must scratch. (Hold the smart phone… what’s this ‘facets’ business I’m talking about? Did I just throw in the kitchen sink? Nope, that’s FAUCETS, and that future post will cover this, too…)

Yet, removing post-move clutter (floor-al chaos?) does not feel important, especially in that strategic sense; I don’t feel like I’m growing, nor investing in myself… I feel like I am delaying. So, fine, I could work on that and take direct steps towards life mission output and processes, but this does nothing for day-to-day living conditions. Thus, both strategic goals and tactical goals are top-of-mind. Oh, horsefeathers, what do I do?

Of course, rid myself of the refugee motif in the apartment. While, yes, tactical vs. strategic trade-offs are not usually this drastic, I try to accomplish the lesser of the two evils anyhow, thus choosing to tackle tactical backlog stories first. Thankfully, David Allen of ‘Getting Things Done’-fame agrees with this approach. After getting control (mastering workflow) is getting perspective (horizons of focus), where we start with addressing next actions (buy cat food) before addressing principles and purpose: get deck-clearing capability first before being able to think at a higher level.

There you have it, folks – how I prioritize my sprint backlog with more ease of mind: address tactical stories at the top of your mind, thus preparing for strategic stories by clearing your mind.

Find Your Path via Unique Ability

The concept of ‘Unique Ability’ by Dan Sullivan was introduced to me via watching/listening to the DVD program ‘On Being A Man’ by David DeAngelo. David mentions this as one way to find your heart-centered purpose / path / mission in life. Just by going over how it’s defined here has seriously helped me confirm mine.

  • It Is A Superior Ability – other people notice it and value it
  • You Love Doing It – and want to do it as much as possible
  • It Energizes You – and others around you
  • You Keep Getting Better At It – there are always possibilities to improve

The next two posts will cover other sets of questions that have aided in uncovering my vision for myself, strategically critical as a Product Owner.

OK, so let’s read those four bullet points again.

Now… did you feel that? That click? That slight internal shifting of realization?

You know your unique ability. You know what it is.

Can you accept it?

Legacy

Lately, my focus has been on setting the Product Owner piece of my own ScrumOfOne, and one fun way to think about my vision is as if it were my legacy.

Merrill B. Lamont III
1982 – 2084
Here lies awesomeness manifest. Did you know he discovered Lamontanium? Oh yeah. That was this guy. You’re so reading his tombstone right now, you lucky person, you. (Go ahead. It’s OK. Touch it.)

This of course appeals to the bio part of my biomedical engineering background; children are genetic legacy, no? It makes a little more sense when thought about memeticly.

Great artists are remembered for their art. Great scientists are remembered for their discoveries & inventions. Great sharks are remembered for their catchy John Williams themes. Great businessfolks are remembered for their comb overs, or because their name is on something/everything.

All this requires taking something to a state of mastery, moving beyond good to great. Geez, so how does that happen? In a way, we re-derive spending more and more time on fewer and fewer things. Fine, so how do I decide which things? Evidently there are a number of ways, but however that vision pans out, it could well be my legacy.

Have fun with this: What’s your legacy?

My Vision Sources

This ScrumOfOne adventure has repeatedly given me a great appreciation for the role of a Product Owner. Yes, as a ScrumMaster, I maintain and grow a well-oiled machine that produces business (personal) value, transforming stories into functionality and their associated benefits.

Which stories? Which benefits? I’m saving up for my CSPO.

To this end, that of discovering my vector, vision, direction, bliss, heart-centered purpose, drive, excitement, or any of the other ways of describing this happiness-related concept, I have been exploring a number of sources.

  • Tribes by Seth Godin
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  • Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • On Being A Man by David DeAngelo
  • Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
  • StevePavlina.com by …um… Steve Pavlina
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
  • The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

From my study of the above, my goal is to determine and execute a method that will result in giving me what I need as a Product Owner – vision for the product of me, and my various facets. This method may be an intersection or union of the relevant sections from the above… I have yet to decide.

One Daily Thing

My Scrums (daily stand-up meetings) now incorporate this little question from ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss, highlighting a couple of Scrum principles:

If this is the one thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?

On the outset, I know I am pretty ambitious about what I plan on doing per day, but framing the daily list in this way not only sets a clear priority as a tactical Product Owner, but also stresses that something is getting done. At the end of the day, it is not left in progress, it’s… done!

If I can’t see myself getting the one thing done that day, it might be due to impediments, or the task/story is just too large. (Hmm… really? Can’t get one thing done? Let’s address this or, heck, just accept this…)

If I can see myself getting the one thing done that day, the question not only leads to a visualization, but also to a sense of future satisfaction. (Hmm… yeah… I can get that done, I can see it now… and it’ll feel good, maybe even awesome…)