Agile For Personal Improvement Experiment: Week 3

Well that didn’t go as planned at all. Being out of town/out of the country is not conducive to staying focused on self improvement. What worked well is continuing to ensure my new workout regimen was feasible. It was not new work.  It was simply refining the model I had built.  Neither living in someone else’s apartment, nor team outings, nor waking up with a hangover, nor rain in the morning could dissuade me from getting in a workout, so I know the model works. Yayyy. I’m Marking that one complete and part of my routine. As for writing my 3 pages–that was a disaster and had as much to do with me making it too specific as it did with me being a lazy distracted writer. For instance, it’s pretty easy to convince your self that binge watching Better Call Saul is actually research, or that you are just doing it so you can fall asleep or that you deserve to unwind a little or. . . insert lame excuse here. The bottom line is that I lacked specific markers to show success. I skipped my tasks. and just assumed that the story was enough.

“Yeah, looking right at you, Arjay.”

To extend a well worn metaphor a bit, I assumed that since it was only a small

elephant, I could figure out on-the-fly what were reasonable bites. What i was left with was no bites at all.

My plan then is to create tasks that break that user story into smaller bits.  meanwhile, my backlog is growing, so I think I need tore-sort what’s going on. From an Agile perspective, this is a good thing. I should not let one thing keep me from moving ahead in others, so I’m pulling that one partially completed story and moving it back to the backlog.

Here’s what I’m pulling in instead

  1. Write a brief statement reflecting on my insights gained from speaking with an Agile certified Team Coach reviewer
  2. Develop technique to cuss less
  3. (time permitting) Write a brief (300 words or fewer) summary of my coaching and Agile development history and how I got where I am today, including key milestone years. (possibly start with the years and work backwards)

I know, it looks like I am taking on even more than before, but I feel like items 1 and 2 are better-sized for success. In user story form they look like this:

  1. As an applicant to Certified Team Coaching, I need to write a brief statement reflecting on my insights gained from speaking with an Agile certified Team Coach reviewer, so that I will have my thinking in the proper place for additional application questions.
    • acceptance criteria:
      • clarify what I learned
      • clarify how I will apply it
      • add these sentences to my application template
  2. As a nice guy, I want to develop a technique that will keep me from cussing less in mixed company so that I don’t lose credibility and also keep my listeners engaged.
    • acceptance criteria:
      • determine what triggers my impulse to use swear words
      • determine alternatives that are as, if not more, engaging
      • research sites like Art Of Manliness on breaking bad habits and swearing in general
      • write a few sentences describing what I have found and how I hope to apply it to myself

I also realized that it might be helpful if I shared my “backlog” with you all so you can see how I have it set up.  Some people have three columns–backlog, doing, done. I actually would prefer to use a board with sticky notes. (I need to talk with Cathy about my idea of putting up a “board” in the downstairs bathroom (my bathroom) so I am forced to look at it every day. Right now, I’m just using a google sheet. If you would rather use an online Kanban tool, Trello works great for this. Kanbanchi, through Google drive, also works well for private use (they charge for professional use, however.) any personal Kanban board will work well for what we are trying to do here, and there are models all over the internet.  We can discuss what Kanban is and how you can apply it personally in a whole other series. Jeff Patton’s blog, Kanban Development Oversimplified, from 2008 is an excellent way to get acquainted with it however.

here is my backlog as it appears in google sheets.

Backlog Doing Done
Write a brief (300 words or fewer) summary of my coaching and Agile development history and how I got where I am today, including key milestone years. reflect on insight gained from speaking with Agile CTC reviewer Develop realistic exercise program
Create plan for writing Agile Coaching book Develop technique to cuss less
Learn song on the banjo
create plan for writing zombie novel
find and develop memory improvement process regimen
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