Food For Thought #13: Less distraction, more ideas

Distraction
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30228426@N03/2832163100/

Do you know these moments, were you’re between two tasks and don’t have the energy to start with the next one? I know these moments a lot. It’s same when you’re working on a task and you’re stuck. This is the time when a lot of people search for distraction. At least that’s what I did in the past. You open your web browser and start surfing the web, reading your Twitter timeline, checking for mails on your 11 different email accounts or check who is online on Skype. Nowadays it’s easy to get distracted. There are hundreds of ways to waste your costly life time. The main problem is, when you get used to this behavior, your productivity decreases over time. In the end your not able to concentrate on a single task and even get distracted by simple things DURING a task (like e.g. an incoming email or DM on Twitter). You don’t have the energy to start any task (maybe smaller ones). Don’t tolerate this behavior, stop it! Now! Did you hear me? Stop it!

The next time you’re having a break between two tasks, lean back and do….. nothing. Yes, exactly. Just do nothing. Don’t try to fill these breaks with some distracting activities. Try to withstand the impulse to open the browser or anything else to fill this gap. Just sit there (or stand) and wait. After a while the magic will happen: New ideas will come up into your mind. Your mind needs these breaks to get back into creativity mode. This isn’t wasted time, instead it’s one of the most valuable things you can do with it. In my experience the best ideas are created during these mind breaks.

Try it out and tell me your observations and experiences in the comments. I’m already looking forward to read them.

Top 10 Posts 2011

I was quite curious what blog posts got the most clicks in the past year. The following list is the result of the analysis I ran:

Top 10

 

 

 

If you haven’t read them yet, they are definitely worth the read 😉 BTW, the blog post with the most discussions was “5 Reasons A Product Owner Team Might Be A Good Idea“. What blog post did you like the most? Leave a comment.

6 Things You Might Try in 2012

Firework
http://www.flickr.com/photos/katieharbath/4764671272/

2011 draws to a close and it is time to set your goals for 2012. If you’re not sure what challenges to put on your plan for 2012, the following list could be a starting point.

1 retro 2011

Before jumping into 2012 it might be a good idea to do a retrospective for the past year. Sit together with your family, draw a timeline and collect all the good things that happened to you in 2011. But do me a favor and forget about the bad things to keep 2011 in good memory.

2 question your org structure

When was the last time you questioned the organizational structure of your company? Does it still fit with the way you’re working? Does it support you in your daily business? No? Then it is definitely time to openly question this structure. I saw a lot of companies trying to introduce agile frameworks like Scrum but without changing the current org structure. It never worked. Let’s try to avoid it! Invite for a kick off meeting to get the discussions rolling and start the change process. It is worth it.

3 ask why

Why did your company introduce Scrum? Why do they think that agile frameworks will help. Why is this process in place. Why do we need to fill out this excel spreadsheet? Why does it take so long to get new hardware? Why is Bob behaving like an idiot? Why are you doing your job? Why is this task so important.

Why questions are the most powerful questions. They are a great trigger to ignite change in your workplace or even in your private life. Why questions will help you in your quest for a life of continuously improvements.

4 offer uncalled help

When was the last time you actively offered help? Don’t wait to be asked. When you see somebody struggling, offer them your help. This shouldn’t be limited to your work life, but also to your private life. Unfortunately, the number of people who are offering uncalled help is decreasing year after year. It starts with so simple things, like opening the door for someone who is balancing a cup of coffee in one and a laptop in the other hand. Try it out, it will brighten up your day.

5 work on your listening skill

Have a look at this great TED talk by Julian Treasure. He talks about 5 ways to listen better. Definitely worth the time!

6 genba walk

If you’re a manager or team lead, this one is for you. Instead of sitting in your office and waiting till everyone comes to you, leave your office and visit your employees. Genba is a Japanese term meaning “the real place”. Go to the places in your company, where the real value is created. The idea of a genba walk is that problems are visible and the best improvement ideas will come from going to the genba. It is also a great opportunity to improve your communication with your team.

What else to you have on your agenda for the year 2012? Leave a comment! Thanks.

An agile cloze

Cloze
http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkeyminddesign/4553428118/

I was just inspired by an german christmas cloze. It even inspired me so much, that I decided to write an agile cloze and let you fill the missing pieces :) So, here you are.

The best way _____________________.

Scrum is ______________ but XP _________________ with or without Kanban.

I currently read ______________ and think _____________.

___________ is the best thing that happened to our company because ____________.

Would you believe _______________.

_____________________ awesome.

If ______________ the world would be a better place.

Happy __________________.

You can either leave a comment or create a blog post based on the above cloze. I’m looking forward to your “fill-in” :)

Penitence For The 7 Agile Sins

Penitence
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Half a year ago I wrote a blog post about 7 Agile Sins. As I’m sure, that I’m not the only one who is guilty for one or more of these sins, I collected a list of possible ways to show penitence and to do it better next time :) So here is my list of the sins and their appropriate penitence.

Stop learning

The first way for showing penitence is to help to create a learning environment in your company. One possibility to do this is to introduce so called brown bags. This is at least one corner stone to foster learning and bring new ideas in your working environment.

Continue reading Penitence For The 7 Agile Sins

agile, scrum, coaching, lean