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.

Short-Term Press Release

You have a direction in life? Holy cow! Congrats!

Wait, you don’t? That’s cool. Having a direction for life is pretty major. Let’s start with setting a direction for, say, the next two weeks.

Before I found my life calling, I had a large prioritized list of things I wanted to be and do. Spanning numerous aspects of myself (musician, ScrumMaster, runner, host, boyfriend, …), I had little focus to my stories within each two-week Sprint. At some point, I adopted something I read in ‘Rework’ by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, a couple of guys from 37signals: the concept of a short-term press release – What is the exciting new thing you will share proudly with the world at the end of your Sprint?

The Sprint Press Release became a focal point about which my stories would congregate and, in a sense, filter themselves. A theme would arise. The similarly-themed backlog items would, through the Sprint, help each others’ completion because they were related. They would all share the same spirit, that which is represented not by the sum of parts (functionalities of all stories, combined), but by the whole, an example of punctuated evolution where a new functionality emerges that is relatively large, possible only because the smaller stories were completed.

Thus, rally stories within each Sprint around a theme. They’ll be easier to get done, and because they’re along the same vein, that’s a sense of –

You have a direction for the next two weeks? Holy cow! Congrats!