Show Then Tell

Over the past few months/sprints, I’ve been developing a system to more easily adopt Agile Living. Stories have been mainly gathering and molding stories into a proprietary format I have been developing for a while. With bookmarks to Google Docs (‘cloud’-enough for now) on my smart phone pointing to a product backlog, sprint backlog, Scrum script, Daily script, and a few other things, the motions for my own ScrumOfOne have become significantly more fluid.

Progress has gotten me to the point where I am back to dedicating time to this blog, with posts planned for twice a week: once on Sundays after my mini-retrospective and once on Wednesdays as a temperature check on mid-week execution of sprints.

Part of this reboot has been after an acknowledgement of how different facets of personal growth, as well as the numerous projects I want to implement, all feel like they should be their own product backlog. Some products represent continual improvement (physical, cultural, residential) and some represent discrete states of accomplishment (this blog, learning to sail, own music studio), so the organization and prioritization of the numerous stories from the numerous backlogs has required some work, thus why I am only getting back to blogging now.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Decrease Focus Factor to Decrease Stress

Lately, I find myself over-committing in my sprints, thus, less gets ‘done’. This is due to ‘things coming up’, as vague as that sounds… usually friends I should hang out with and summer activities I should take advantage of, both sets of which arise very soon before an event, not even with a sprint’s-worth of lead time.

…And the Product Owner in me says they are priority over sprint stories. This is frustrating since I then just finish off the smaller stories with the planned larger stories getting untouched.

Transparency & Inspection into my life’s activities have made this clear – and it is painful – it is no fun carrying larger stories from sprint to sprint. It’s the reality, though, so it’s time for Adaptation.

This current sprint for me is a Spike Sprint, where I will split up existing stories into smaller stories to take into account a realistic and decreased focus factor. This is the beauty of the Velocity concept: it is not the team capacity, but the empirically determined ability for the team to deliver.

Business Case

I had an epiphany at work this week. Creating a business case for some initiative can have an analogy in personal development.

Design Change Requests are to business resources (time, money) and business value (profitability) as Agile stories & distractions / impediments are to personal resources (time, money, focus) and personal growth (functionality, mastery).

Thus, I’ve been finding it helpful when a story suddenly arises or a significant distraction/impediment is on the horizon to frame it as if I were convincing ‘the board’ of its business value. What are the time, money, and focus costs? What are the opportunity costs (what am I not working on so I can do this other thing)? How does it fit the corporate strategy, or in this case, Product Owner’s vision: your vision for self?

In typing this up, I’ve realized this is just a particular form of cost/benefit analysis.

Daily Stand-up, Beyond Mechanics: A Measure of Self-Organization

The following are my notes from a Scrum Alliance article – its title is that of this post.

By Bachan Anand, CSM, CSP, he shares ways to tune the scrum / daily stand-up meeting. Building up to a very neat table, he outlines how to run the scrum of a high-performance team in terms of self-organization, focus, collaboration, rhythm, courage, and respect. My favorite example is a solution for one particular self-organization issue, where team members share status as if reporting to managers (ScrumMaster and Product Owner), instead of sharing status with their fellow pigs.

Each time a pig looks at a chicken during the scrum, the chicken should look at his/her shoes.

Google ‘ScrumOfOne’ – Go Ahead

Here, I’ll do it for you. My links are 80% of the first page.

Yes, it is tremendous luck that nobody has done much online with the term ‘ScrumOfOne’, so to secure the Twitter handle, Meetup group name, gmail address, dot-com domain, and then throwing WordPress on there all makes for some relatively simple and evidently effective SEO.

I am tickled pink.