Thursday, November 10, 2011

"How to Supercharge Your Productivity"

Quite by accident, I recently attended a free webinar from The Energy Project called "How to Supercharge Your Productivity." Based on the description in the invitation I thought it was going to be about managing distractions, sleep, exercise, stretching, breathing, meditation and all manner of things that you can do through the day to keep your energy level up... besides coffee.

I was surprised at how much the themes in the webinar paralleled some of the ideas in Scrum.  Here are some of the points from the webinar:

  • Work in 90 minute iterations through the day, stop to reflect and prioritize.
  • Do your most important task of the day first before anything else, even email.
  • Don't switch context.  Work in serial rather than parallel.
  • Celebrate incremental successes.
  • When working in a team everyone should share commitment.
  • It might be necessary to take a "leap of faith" by changing the way you work, but stick with it for 30 days and then gauge your productivity.
  • Perform daily rituals at the same time every day.
  • Have transitional rituals before and after work.

This is really living Agile.  I can't wait until the next webinar titled "How to Give Feedback People Can Hear".  I'll wager it borrows heavily from Agile too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our Task Board

Everyone really likes having a real task board in the team room. With just a glance anyone can understand where the team is in the sprint. There is a real emotional response for a team member to walk up to the board and move a card to the "Done" column. I've seen some places that use Velcro so there is an actual loud ripping noise when you peel something off the board. It's very gratifying and gives the team a real sense of accomplishment.

I use a cork board with some masking tape and colored index cards. Our burndown chart comes from TFS. We're using the Visual Studio Scrum 1.0 process guidance template. I also post the team's definition of "done" and their working agreements for the sprint. I a tool called Scrum Task Board Card Creator to print the tasks and stories from TFS.

How is your task board set up?