Agile; Standup

Do you have the best job in the world?

Happy New Year! I’m sure I am one of many people wishing you the best for 2020. After a fast-paced 2019 packed with excitement and challenges, I’m getting curious about how this year can be different. I’m in the process of doing my Past Year Review (I wrote about this last year) to capture the highlights and lowlights of 2019. What do I want to keep doing (and do more of)? And what do I want to do less of? Or stop completely? It’s a great reflection exercise, and thanks to my monthly reflection sessions, I’m able access that info more easily. How is your end of year reflection going?

December was a month to both finish things and rest. As a business owner the concept of rest is challenging, as there is always something to do. But I know it’s important, and the impact of not taking time out to recharge. The highlight was spending time with my husband and our new kitten. Watching him settle into his new environment has been a joy, as everything is so new and exciting for him. It reminded me of the importance of seeing life this way. It’s certainly made me rethink Planning Poker…

As part of my end of year reflection, I thought a lot about growth, and how the need to grow becomes apparent when we feel stuck. Being stuck is great by the way – it means change and opportunity. You can find the blog here. I would love to know what you think, and if this resonates with you. I am lucky to experience many different environments as part of my day to day, but I know the feeling of being stuck, and the need to change my environment so I can grow.

With this mode of reflection in mind, welcome to the December Stand Up! I’m looking forward to sharing more about my month, and of course, looking forward to hearing about yours. Let’s calibrate, collaborate and iterate together.

Warm wishes,
The Agile Project Manager

P.S. Missed the November Stand Up? You can find it here.


What did I accomplish?

  • Rest. And yes, I’m calling it as an accomplishment as it’s something I’m not good at doing. Not for long, anyway. I might read for a while then remember something I need to do, or it will spark an idea that I will follow and go and achieve something. In December, I achieved true rest. I was away for a week, and in that time I read fiction books, listened to music and generally relaxed. If I thought of an idea, I wrote it down, knowing I could come back to it another time. We also stayed in Melbourne for Christmas, and having a break that did not involve a long car drive or a flight was bliss.
  • I also ran my first Leading SAFe 2-day course for a client. As an avid learner, I love putting what I learn into practice as soon as I can, so it was a great opportunity. My clients are asking more and more for help to scale Agile, and while I don’t support rigid frameworks and ‘cookie cutter’ approaches, Scaled Agile Framework is based on principles and values, and quite flexible in its modular approach and ‘just enough’ implementation roadmap. One thing I like about SAFe is the emphasis on training. I was chatting to a mentor of mine, who was also captain of a ship I served on in the Navy, and we were reflecting on the high performance culture of a Navy ship, and how it differs from a corporate environment. His observation was training. He reminded me that every member of a ship, from the most junior sailor to the captain is highly trained. They REALLY know their jobs. The Navy invests a lot in their people, so in turn those people can be relied on to do a great job. Organisations are increasingly turning to online learning as well as expecting people to take charge of their own learning. Fortunately, the range of resources is endless, but it means we need to be firmly in the driver’s seat. As part of your 2020 planning, what are you planning on learning? And, of course, what are you planning on unlearning?
  • I continued to work with a client who is forming a new function and team way of working. It’s been great to work with them to integrate Agile mindset and methods into this process. Our customised Agile Ready approach is working well. It allows the space to explore options for team culture while using the Agile framework as a guide. It’s also great to hear how many people in that team have “the best job in the world”! What would need to happen for you to have the best job in the world?
  • My take out summary from facilitating (and participating!) this month:
    • A wonderful personal note written on one of the feedback forms: “Ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things”. This participant had some amazing ‘aha’ moments that caused her to share this quote with the room, as she realised the power of working in an Agile way. THIS is the kind of impact that drives me to do what I do.
    • Immediate application: A number of my workshop participants have got in contact to share what they have applied following our workshops. This is a big one. It’s great to learn something, it’s another thing to apply it. When we take the opportunity to apply what we learned immediately, we have a much better chance of succeeding with this learning. It was great to hear from these people, and also a reminder to me to keep doing this.
    • The power of focus when learning. Even a small distraction can cause you to miss something important. And that something might be on the exam…
    • There are almost always 24 chocolates in a medium sized Cadbury Favourites box.

What am I working on?

  • Workshops! Workshops! Workshops! I’m looking at both continuing to deliver what is working for my clients right now, as well as take everything to a new level. I’ve been collecting your questions, and plan on going deeper into concepts to help you thrive in change using Agile.
  • Agile QuickStart is going well, with a few more bonuses planned. If you have finished the course (and many of you have – great stuff!) you may want to check back in. All early adopters have access for life.
  • The Agile Project Manager audio is continuing a bit slower than planned due to my cat’s need for fame and attention. Check out one of my attempts on Chapter 1. If you haven’t listened to the Introduction (no interruptions here thankfully), you can find it here. Let me know what you think!

What’s getting in my way?

Last month I worked on finishing, and this will continue to be a focus – which means being mindful about what I start (or agree to start). A jam-packed calendar lends itself less to finishing and more to ‘busy work’, not to mention very little time to think and create. What might get in my way is the temptation to fill my calendar over mindfully creating space. I’ve scheduled time to ensure I have that space, and I am curious as to how you create space in your life to stay out of the ‘busy work’ cycle. Any tips you want to share?

Next Month

Workshops and Strengths coaching feature in January, as well as building out more online content. I promise to make more time to finish The Agile Project Manager Audio. My goal is to have it done and ready for you to listen to in its entirety by end of March!



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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.