Friday, August 25, 2006

So how does the personal scrum work?

Let me go through my experience and show you. First, I must say, I am somewhat of a creature of habit. For those of you who know me, I know that is an astonishing admission, but it is true. Given our somewhat self imposed sojourn in 20th century data communications and my relaxed travel schedule, the following is a good synopsis of my own personal scrum. When I am on the road, several things happen, which we will get into later.

Over breakfast and coffee, I create a list of tasks for the day. This comes off of my larger ‘product backlog’ that matures with the wine in my cellar. Though I don’t stand up, I do address the 3 pertinent questions: checking off what I accomplished yesterday, highlighting what I plan to accomplish today, cross correlating with my external customers and interfaces (the family), and checking for blockages. These can be as simple as “I can’t do this until you do that, are you going to do that this morning,” or more complex: From the backlog above, one of the minor tasks that had to be coordinated was getting to the airport in order to take my flight to California. We have 2 cars and while my son is home from college, we have three drivers. Being cost conscious for my employer, it is cheaper for me to grab a ride to the airport than to park there, so I need to coordinate times for rides. I schedule flights at times when I know I can get rides (actually, a taxi would not be out of the question, but it is a $50 trip to the airport and my family likes to spend the time with me – another little know fact!). Manchester now has free WiFi, so for the first time in my life, I look forward to going to the airport early! Any rate, back to my scrum.

Once the morning starts and the caffeine leaches my brain back to coherency, I trudge up the hill to this nice little war-driving spot I have found in the municipal parking lot in front of the fire station. I download my mail and check all the accounts for critical notes that need responses this morning.

Returning home, I review my list for the day and adjust it if necessary.

Next, I have a 30 minute slot where I respond to the newly acquired emails and queue them for transmission. If there is less than 30 minutes, I allow myself to use the remainder with the newspaper or something like that.

I try to keep my morning schedule reasonably clear – that is usually simple as most of my contacts are in western time zones these days. Thus, I spend a couple hours working on the documents in the queue and adding to the blog.

Once the specific tasks I have identified for this portion of my day have been completed, I go resynch my mail and get ready for the afternoon meetings (which typically start at noon). I am using the theater office in the afternoons ( for those of you interested – make a donation while you are there. Also, read Artful Making and see why it is valuable to adopt a theater) as we have wireless there and since the season is over, it is nice and quiet.

Once the meetings for the day are over, I resynch my mail and I am done. If the meeting load is short, I can pull forward some of the tasks from the next day (since I have a backlog for the sprint), or I can catch up on my reading or surge forward on the blog. Essentially, the late afternoon becomes my playground – a reward for minimizing my anti-velocity.
You will note here, that I really only check my email 3 times a day now. I am automatically filtering my groups and even much of my office trivial. I resist the temptation to review these filtered emails during the day and have become quite adept at it. Though we have a solid internet connection at the theater, I have stop myself cruising the net saying things like “whoa, this is really dull”. There really is a lot of nothingness out there – kind of like satellite TV.


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