Tackling Agile Personally

I’ve been wanting to write a brief post on this ever since I was first introduced to Agile as a philosophy. I say philosophy because in my view that’s exactly what it is, its not some hard and fast rule that the die hard project manager uses to drive his team to the bottom line of product deliver.

Anyway, I digress… onto the subject of this post, which is how to take Agile personally and use it to your benefit.

You see Agile can be adapted to any situation, from running a company to learning to ride a bike, and this is the beauty of its application and process. I’m going to cover very briefly a short personal Objective.

I define an Objective as follows: “Objectives are the desired results a person envisions, plans and commits to achieve — this is the key to control and strategy. You can call it anything you like, a goal, an outcome or a result…

Pick one.

First and foremost what is Agile? A picture is worth a thousand words…

Got it?

Now lets say Agile is synonymous with Ability:

Ability is in practice a sequence of steps that you perform to achieve a desirable outcome. (Envision)

1. You get an idea that you want to do something. (Envision)

2. Your mind is focused or focuses on that idea; you perceive how it will work or what the outcome will be. (Speculate)

3. You work out and plan how you are going to implement the idea. (Speculate)

4. You do the steps required to implement the idea. (Explore/Adapt/Speculate)

5. You have the result. (Close)

Now lets set an Objective and put it through its paces.

Envision:

Learn to ride a bike like a professional cyclist in 12 months. This will help me to get fit and live a more active lifestyle.

Speculate:

How might I got about learning to ride a bike like a pro?
Who can I talk to about the best approach to take?
What kind of bike will I need to get started?
I’ve seen cyclist wearing garb, would I need to buy the same kinds of garb?
What risks should I be aware of?

Speculation is about “Who, What, Where, When and How”.

Now as you can see from this speculation we might define a plan of action. Doing some research to find a person to talk to about this. You might also add to your task list things like “Buy and read cycling books” and “Watch some youtube videos on pro cycling”. Etc. You get the idea, from speculating to adopting a series of plans that will bring you closer to your Objective.

In short, this is where you’ll create a todo list or project plan.

Explore:

Exploration is about executing on the How that you defined in the Speculation phase, here is where you’ll use your organizer or diary, you’ll ride your bike everyday, assuming you’ve already completed the initial stages of your plan from your speculations.

Adapt:

Perhaps the most essential part of Agile that most organizations tend to skip over or do very quickly and that is learning to adapt to change.

In this phase of your journey learning to adapt to changes, like your bicycle seat might prove to be super uncomfortable and its making your efforts very difficult.

I refer here to a very specific psychological characteristic called the sunk cost effect.

Sunk Cost

The sunk cost effect is manifested in a greater tendency to continue an endeavor once an investment in money, effort, or time has been made.

Here’s a link if you want to know more about it. Visit here

What I’m basically suggesting here is that you look objectively at where you’re at in the process of achieving your Objective and if you find that some things are not working out for you that you adapt and make the required course corrections and changes that will help you succeed.

Sticking with an uncomfortable seat might seem like the logical choice when you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a professional bicycle and riding gear, but its sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll have every excuse not to ride as much as you need to, or should, to master the art of professional cycling.

Once you decided to adapt to the current change in circumstance. Its time to review and this means returning to the Envision stage of the Agile process. Where you will review what you’ve envisioned your outcome or objective to be by comparing to your current scene or state.

This will give some insights into what else you will need to do should you feel that you have not reached your desired outcome.

However, if you feel good about your results then proceed to the Closing stage of the Agile process.

Close:

This is a good time to mark things as done, cross them off your list of todos, close any open items. Journal what you learned from this, keep a success journal or simply close out the entire objective and mark it as done.

To my knowledge, there are no articles out there on applying Agile to your personal life. As you can see from this very brief overview it is quite possible for you to do so with great results.

To your success

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