Do you like to achieve?

I do. Ofcourse I like to. I want to achieve a lot in my life. From being a director of a big company till saving a PDF without margins.

I guess everyone likes to achieve things. It is in the nature of people to hunt for achievements. You want to cook the best dinner, score the winning goal in an important soccergame or just get your room cleaned every week. Achieving something does not always mean that you’ve set a goal for it. It can be as simple as reaching the gas station with no fuel left in the trunk. Maybe you didn’t notice it, but you achieved something by finding this blogpost. It will make you notice your next achievement.

We always strive to get noticed. That’s difficult. Look around you and you know why. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, podcasts, books and a lot of other media make it easy to get noticed. But the overflood of media also make it easy to stay unnoticed (I’ve just read ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World’ by Gary Vaynerchuk). That is why you need to value your own achievements. As little as they are. The social attention does not make your achievement, it only hypes it.

Last week I created a document in Microsoft Word (Yes, I know I shouldn’t…) and wanted to save this as a PDF. Unfortunately the PDF contained an annoying margin at the bottom I wanted to get rid of. Several Google searches and experiments later I still got the margin and I felt bad. How stupid could I be? I went to bed and started with fresh energy the next day but without luck. Until I was reading a blogpost from David Sparks. Watching his screencast just gave me a final idea: remove my printer from my MacBook Air. Guess what?! The margins were gone. It felt like such a big deal and I was really happy. It costed me two evenings but it was worth it. I smiled for the rest of the evening and was able to send the document.

This was just an example of how simple an achievement can be. We often neglect this legal drug but it really can motivate you. You should use this whenever you can. Having it difficult or struggling with a project? Use your imagination and look for your achievements. It will help you to get on and reach that big achievement everyone dreams about!

Advertisements

Having a stand-up at work?

At work, we started implementing Agile Development two years ago. Until a couple of months ago we used a Scrum implementation, but now we are changing this to Kanban. In this period a lot has changed but our stand-up always had his place. But is the stand-up a useful ceremony? Some say it is a waste of time but others think it is a gift. My idea is that a good stand-up can really make you better as a team. It is a quick and easy way to get an overview of who is working on what topic. Are you stuck? Just ask for help in this short meeting so that the project can move on.
It is true that you should ask for help whenever you need it. But this ‘forum’ is a great way to avoid asking help to the same people over and over. It is an opportunity for the team to manage themselves.

So as you can see, there are several reasons for having a regular stand-up. Why are there still people that don’t see the advantages of this ceremony? Probably because stand-ups can get out of hand pretty quick. Someone who keeps talking, discussions, people are not interested or arrive late. Those are all things that can be avoided with some simple rules. The article 10 Tips for a Great Daily Scrum Meeting provides a nice set of rules that you can apply. First of all everyone should use the same format when they tell wat they are doing:

” Yesterday, I completed…
Today, I will…
The things blocking my progress are…”

But the most important rule to me is “Start and end the meeting on time”. If you wait for someone, you will notice that focus will be lost. People will be watching the clock, because they have meetings or should get back to their work. People that are late should be punished for being so. Waiting for them will only cause more delays in the coming weeks since people think that is no problem. So when you are late, apologize and don’t ask to repeat what was said.

Having trouble to keep your Daily Scrum short and focussed? Try this tip: Let’s Save that Discussion for the Sixteenth Minute. We still use this from time to time.