Zan’s Sprint Challenge 10/20/15: Practice Simplification to Improve Agility

It’s time for another Zan’s Challenge! These challenges are still to help spur your thoughts, strengthen your skills, or open your mind to new possibilities in Agile.

Today’s Challenge: Practice Simplification to Improve Agility

One of the core principles behind the Agile Manifesto is Simplicity:

Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.

In order to succeed, we all must learn to simplify what we are doing. It is never enough to just attack all the tasks and problems we may be faced with each day. There just are not enough hours in the day. We have to simplify the work we do, ensuring we get what needs to be done, done.

Here are some tips for simplification:

  • Make a priority list: It’s important to know what is the most important thing to be done is. Figure out what must be done first.
  • Understand the goal: If you don’t know what the goal is, and why the goal is important, you won’t know what to simplify.
  • Check your status often: Once you start doing things in their order of priority, check in as you complete tasks and see if you have met the goal. Sometimes, you’ll find the goal actually met, and you won’t need some of the tasks you thought you did at first! Other times, you may need to alter your expected tasks once you have new information. Either way, eliminating unnecessary tasks leads to simplification.

Good luck with this challenge. Please let me know your results, what you think of this challenge, and if you have any ideas for future Zan’s Challenges!

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Zan’s Challenge 10/6/15: Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

It’s time for another Zan’s Challenge! These challenges are still to help spur your thoughts, strengthen your skills, or open your mind to new possibilities in Agile.

Today’s Challenge: Identify your strengths and weaknesses

It’s important, when striving for personal and professional growth, to know your strengths and at least some weaknesses which you can work to address.  We’d all like to think we have no weaknesses, but that is never the case. We all have something we can work to be better at.

Here are some tips to identifying strengths and weaknesses:

  • A quick way to know how strong you are at something is to try to teach it to someone else. Your understanding will be tested in new and unique ways, and teachers often find they learn just as much as their students.
  • Another really simple way is to just do it, whatever ‘it’ may be. While you’re doing something, examine how you feel. If you’re happy with the activity, you’re more likely to be strong. If it is frustrating or disconcerting, that is a sign you may be weak in that area. This applies to lots of different activities.
  • Ask trusted colleagues for their honest opinions. Give your honest opinion in return. Sometimes people know you better than you know yourself, especially when it comes to weaknesses.

Good luck with this challenge. Please let me know your results, what you think of this challenge, and if you have any ideas for future Zan’s Challenges!