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:

Continue reading Agile Mentoring

Save Your Money, Don’t Start With a Coach

Put your wallet down.

Look, I hear ya – you want to be better, but I bet you want to be sustainably better. I know your organization may want change, but I bet it wants lasting change. You hear good things about Agile or Scrum or Kanban or Kanscrum Scrumban, and you’re tempted to bring in an Agile Coach.

Here is where I try to convince you, counter-intuitively, to not hire me and my kind.

At least, not at first.

Continue reading Save Your Money, Don’t Start With a Coach

Three-Minute Sprint

Try it.

And no, that doesn’t mean y’gotta be all strict-Scrum about it by having a Planning meeting, then standing up every 30 seconds, then Retrospecting at the end, followed by a Review session. Plan beforehand. Retrospect & Review afterwards. Sit down for the full three minutes.

Get yourself to focus for a full three minutes on something, where you may not have a potentially shippable output, but there is some micro-milestone you can claim.

Try it.

What you’ll find is this kick-starts your productivity. You’re giving yourself space to work towards something. Sometimes it feels silly, but at least for me, most of the time I blow past the timer and keep going.

This idea pops up when building habits. Pulling again from “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, when implementing “The Third Law – Make It Easy”, he recommends starting with repetition over perfection. This is what is meant by the initially counter-intuitive phrase, “quantity over quality”.

Frequency builds habits. So make it easy by finding and doing the miniature version of the habit you really want. Want to do 10 push-ups? Do and be satisfied with 1 push-up. Want to focus on work for 30 minutes? Do and be satisfied with 3 minutes. It’s the frequency of the exercise session and the work session that builds those habits, so you might as well make it easy.

The book calls this the “Two-Minute Rule”. I like three. Partially ’cause I’m Merrill The Third, and partially ’cause my daughter has these hourglass sand timers. We don’t have a two-minute one, but we do have a three. This analog solution is very satisfying.

Try it.

Who knows. It might kick-start anything you tell yourself you want to do, like, say, oh, I dunno, write a blog post first draft in 30 minutes, just as an example. Insert winkie-face here.

Tracking the Habit Avalanche

When building a habit, don’t miss two days in a row. I got this from the “Atomic Habits” book by James Clear:

The first mistake is never the one that ruins you. It is the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.

My daily habit is really a set of habits, with a few new small ones added every other week. Thus, I gradually build up a sustainable daily system of habits. I mark every day, on a “cafes of Boston & Cambridge” desk calendar my wife gave me in my Christmas stocking, in the following way:

Continue reading Tracking the Habit Avalanche