Agile; Standup

The Fourth Quarter

I don’t know about you, but September went by in a flash! So much happened in such a short space of time! What remained the same was continuous change. Spring in Victoria ranges from ‘it’s practically summer’ type heat to Antarctic winds and rain – and that’s just in one day. All during what has been one of the most rapidly changing times of our lives. Victoria continues to be tightly locked down, and our sister and brother states have closed their borders to us while we get our Covid-19 cases down. Uncertain times indeed, with many of our cases being of unknown origin. As we enter the last quarter of the year, I have been reflecting on what I have learned, and if this pandemic has taught me one thing, it’s the importance of normalising uncertainty.

I think many of us are okay with short-term uncertainty. We use our precious ‘surge capacity’ to knuckle down and tough out a hard time. But this event has called for marathon-level endurance. It’s not enough that we temporarily adjust to this new world, but rather develop habits and rituals that we can sustain long-term. I think of my military training – some of my tougher challenges were those that did not have an end date and required a long-term outlook. When you’re involved in an extended exercise at sea with a cyclone following you, holding on becomes a big priority that is top of mind all the time (even while asleep). And if one thing becomes a big priority, it means other priorities need to shift to make room.

How have your priorities changed in this pandemic? My September definitely reflected some changes, and I’m sure yours did too. I’m looking forward to sharing what I got up to, and of course, hearing about yours. Let’s use this time of continuing incredible change to calibrate, collaborate and iterate together.

The Agile Project Manager

P.S. Missed August? You can find it here.


My Strengths in Uncertainty Series has continued, and it’s been a great opportunity to connect with new and familiar people. It has been wonderful to learn how others are using their Strengths to not just survive during this time but really thrive. Check out my interview with Helen Palmer to learn how Learner can be used well in uncertain times. My interview with Richard Sterry highlights Harmony and Relator. My interviews are continuing, so if you have done your Gallup Strengths and would like to be part of it, please get in touch.

Speaking of Helen Palmer, she also contributed a fantastic guest post on Five Things Project Managers and Change Managers can do to play nicely together. It highlights that PMs and CMs don’t always see eye to eye, and Helen offers some practical and actionable advice – well worth a read!

Speaking of collaborations (loving a few segues today!), I have joined forces with Em Campbell-Pretty and her team at Pretty Agile as a SAFe Program Consultant. Anyone who has worked with Scaled Agile knows it’s a team sport, and her team is one of the most experienced in Australia, if not the world. My focus right now is facilitation, with the goal to do more work assisting clients setting up and maintaining Agile Release Trains (ARTs).

What am I working on?

My new online course! Agile QuickStart has been doing well, but given how important online learning has become, I have decided to move my Delivering Successful Projects workshop to an online, self-paced course. I’m still continuing to deliver it live and online, but I wanted to give my current clients options to refresh their knowledge, as well as future clients the option to learn at their own pace in their own time. The plan is to have it ready for my current clients by December. This is my focus for this next quarter, along with facilitating SAFe workshops.

What’s getting in my way?

Last month I talked about the weight of world events, and this is still a theme – especially when it comes to planning. Like many people, I can be optimistic when planning what I think I can do, but in this moment, right now, I’m understanding that world events make things more difficult, but I’m not always factoring it in. It means I risk setting myself up for failure by planning WAY more than I can do. I need to take my own medicine and ask myself the question I ask the teams I coach – “looking ahead to the next time period, is this plan realistic? Can we do everything? Or do we need to let something go, and bring it in if we have time?” How do you handle optimism when planning?

Next Month

What are YOUR actions?

Here’s where we calibrate, collaborate and iterate. I would love to hear from you:

·       What did YOU accomplish? What are YOU working on? What’s getting in YOUR way?

·       How are you managing the things that GET IN YOUR WAY?

·       What are the actions you are now going to take?

Join in the conversation on the Facebook page.



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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.