J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

January, 2014

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    Now Available: Trends for 2014 at Your Fingertips

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    It’s here.  I���ve published my Trends for 2014:

    Trends for 2014: The Year of Value Realization

    It’s a deep dive.

    Some things will look familiar.  Some things will look new.   Some things might surprise you.

    There are a lot of interesting patterns at play.   For example, baby boomers are shaping innovation.  Developing countries are turning around the flow of innovation.  The world is going social, businesses are going cloud, everything is getting mobile, people and machines are getting better together, and analytics for everything is bringing new levels of insight, and opening new possibilities.

    I plucked out a couple of the trends to share here that you might find interesting:

    Dream Teams the Virtual Way.  Has there ever been a better time to assemble a team of super heroes to change the world?   Build your dream team, ship ideas, and change the world. 99 Designs.com puts 100,000+ designers are at your fingertips.  Behance.net is a leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work and hire top talent.  Elance.com gives you access over 2 million skilled freelancers from around the world.  Fiverr.com helps you hire people around the world to perform tasks and services, referred to as “gigs” beginning at a cost of $5 per job performedFreelancer.com provides instant access to the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace. oDesk.com connects you to millions of quality freelancers where you can outsourcing your needs.

    Infrastructure as code.  “Continuous delivery and DevOps have elevated our thinking about infrastructure. The implications of thinking about infrastructure as code and the need for new tools are still evolving.”    See Thoughtworks Technology Radar, May 2013

    We are the Borg, device implants, and electronically enhanced you. It’s not just wearable computing.  Devices are ingestible and implantable, too  Implants, smart pills and electronic tattoos will change the medical field, among other arenas.   Smart pills and smart “stick on” tattoos can send relay vital signs of a patient to doctors.  Doctors gather detailed data on “neural signatures” of illnesses through implants.

    There’s plenty more at Trends for 2014: The Year of Value Realization.

    What I also did was a pretty thorough roundup of key trends for 2014 from a variety of sources.

    And, I do mean a variety.

    If there is one post you read from me this year, this is the post.

    It can help you reimagine you and your world, and inspire you with new ways to exploit the future and the kaleidoscope of trends that are shaping the fabric of our emerging reality.

    It puts the future in your hands.

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    Day 7 of 7 Days of Agile Results–Saturday (Have Fun)

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    imageYour Outcome: Design a great weekend.

    Welcome to Day 7 of 7 Days of Agile Results.  Agile Results is the productivity system introduced in my best-selling time management book, Getting Results the Agile Way.

    Let’s recap what we’ve done so far:

    Today, it’s all about fun.

    Use Agile Results to Make the Most of Your Weekend

    What do you want out of this weekend?

    You can use The Rule of 3 whenever you need it.    Simply identify 3 Wins or 3 Outcomes that you want to achieve.

    So, what are 3 Wins that I want out of this weekend?

    1. Catch up on sleep.
    2. Catch up on movies.
    3. Learn something deep.

    I caught up on sleep, and I went to see Long Survivor.   It was intense.   Hopefully, I’ll catch up on a few more movies tomorrow.

    I also plan to go through a home study course that I’ve had for a while.  Now’s the time.

    3 Takeaways from 7 Days of Agile Results

    Hopefully, stepping through each day had helped you get started with Agile Results.

    1. If you fall off the horse, you can start Agile Results anytime, anywhere, simply by asking yourself:

    “What are 3 outcomes that I want for today?”

    … and write your answers down on a piece of paper or sticky note (my tool of choice.)

    That’s it, you’re doing Agile Results.

    2. If you remember two things, remember to use Three Wins or The Rule of 3:

    Three Wins for the Day, Three Wins for the Week, Three Wins for the Month, Three Wins for the Year

    3. If you remember three things, then remember the Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern:

    1. Monday Vision: On Mondays, identify your 3 outcomes or 3 Wins for the week.
    2. Daily Outcomes:  Each day, identify 3 Wins or 3 outcomes for your day.
    3. Friday Reflection:  Each Friday, identify 3 things going well and 3 things to improve.

    If you really embrace and practice this simple system, you’ll be turning intentional action into magnificent results.  You’ll also very quickly multiple your results, simply by getting better at focusing, and concentrating your effort.  And, Friday Reflection will help you learn faster and deeper about your own ability to execute, and will help you build your execution excellence muscle.

    Write Your Story Forward and Help 3 Others Unleash Their Potential

    Don’t get discouraged if you struggle with some things.  Remember that you get to practice every day.  Enjoy it and challenge yourself.  Remember that the value is really in the change, and that our challenges produce some of our best changes.  Our challenges and changes are also the breeding ground of some of our best stories in our lives. 

    It’s in this way that we are the authors of our lives and we continuously write our stories forward.

    Also remember that sometimes the best way to learn something is to teach others.

    If you teach 3 friends (family, or colleagues) how to get started with Agile Results, you’ll be helping more people find a way to flourish and realize their potential and to unleash the productive artist we all have inside.

    Best wishes on your journey ahead.

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    Day 6 of 7 Days of Agile Results – Friday (Friday Reflection)

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    imageYour Outcome: Identify 3 things going well and 3 things to improve based on you results for this week.

    Welcome to Day 6 of 7 Days of Agile Results.  Agile Results is the productivity system introduced in my best-selling time management book, Getting Results the Agile Way.

    Let’s recap what we’ve done so far:

    Use Friday Reflection as a way to invest in yourself, reinvent yourself, and renew yourself.   If you do this well, this is the secret of continuous improvement.  Each week, what you learn from Friday Reflection can help you tune and improve your results so you get better and better.

    One of the most common patterns is to simply lose sight of what we set out to achieve for his week.  That's why thinking of 3 Wins for the Week is so powerful.  It gives us a target.  We check ourselves during the week, and adjust our course.  Then Friday is where we really peer into our personal process and find ways to improve it.

    3 Things Going Well and 3 Things to Improve

    To do Friday reflection, simply give yourself 10 or 20 minutes on Friday mornings to ask yourself two things:

    1. What are three things going well?
    2. What are three things to improve?

    The goal is to carry the good forward and build better habits.

    Before you answer the questions above, really reflect on your week.  Did you do what you set out to do?  If not, did you trade up for the right things?  Did you get randomized? Did you bite off more than you can chew?

    See what starts to happen?  You start to notice your own patterns.  This awareness becomes your advantage, when you use it to change what's not working, and do more of what is working  It's a way to improve your personal habits and streamline your results.

    This is a powerful way to learn your own capacity and to gradually improve your “ability to execute.”

    Example Patterns

    Here are a few common patterns and what to do about them:

    1. You completed none of what you set out to do for the week.   Pay a lot of attention to this.   What’s important is that you know “WHY” you didn’t complete what you set out to do.  If you traded up for higher value impact, congratulations.   If, you simply got randomized, and distracted, then notice how much better today would feel if you had stayed focused on your 3 outcomes.  Also, make it a point to identify how you choose better outcomes for the week.   You want to really start to learn what sorts of things are high value results for you.
    2. You completed some of what you set out to do.  Congratulations.   At least that’s some progress you can be proud of.   Use your results as feedback.   Did you complete your best opportunities?   Or did you simply go for low-hanging fruit?   Did you try to accomplish more than was reasonable within this time frame?   Use your answers here to gain tremendous insight into your own bottlenecks and ability to execute.   If you are simply biting off too much, then try to improve your ability to estimate what you can achieve within a week.   You’ll get better at this each time.  You’ll start to be able to size up your work week simply by eye-balling it.   You’ll develop an intuitive ability to guestimate your efforts, which will help you right size your wins, and focus on the highest impact results.   This, in turn, will help you build momentum so that you can create a snowball of progressive impact.
    3. You completed what you set out to do, but it doesn’t feel like impact.    This is a good learning, as well as a good reminder.   First, make sure you aren’t throwing your results away.   Check to see if you are giving yourself enough credit for achieving your results.   Practice an attitude of gratitude.   Next, see if you can put your finger on “WHY” it doesn’t feel like impact.   Did you simply have  lack of clarity around what would be significant for this week?   Did you simply set your bar too low?   The best insight here is to gain increasing clarity on what types of outcomes really constitute high value results.

    Enjoy the Journey

    Most important, relax and truly embrace Friday Reflection as one of the best ways that you can improve your personal performance, in a simple and almost automatic way.   Just by asking these simple questions, you start to gain awareness and you start to gain more clarity on what works best for you, and what your true execution abilities are.

    What’s even better is that you’ll naturally start to improve here simply by paying attention to these key questions.   They’ll help you see what you did not see before.  And, if you make this Friday Reflection a simple way to check in with yourself each week, you’ll find yourself paying more attention throughout the week.  And, you’ll start to make little adjustments here and there that start to help you focus and prioritize on higher value outcomes and activities

    You will gradually find that you are achieving better and better results, with less effort and more clarity.

    You will unleash the productive artist that’s already within you, as well as tap your most inspiring abilities, skills, and strengths.

    This is how you will fan your flames and set your productivity on fire … the quiet way … the Agile way.

    Welcome to your private victories that last a life time.

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    Day 5 of 7 Days of Agile Results – Thursday (Daily Outcomes)

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    imageYour Outcome: Know your 3 Wins to target today so that you have a simple way to focus and prioritize your effort throughout your day.

    Welcome to Day 5 of 7 Days of Agile Results.  Agile Results is the productivity system introduced in my best-selling time management book, Getting Results the Agile Way.

    Let’s recap what we’ve done so far:

    Hopefully, at this point, it’s getting easier for you to identify your 3 outcomes for the day.

    If not, fear not. 

    You will get better, as long as you make it a conscious effort to really figure out what 3 outcomes you want for today.

    Picture Your Day, the Agile Way

    Hopefully, you’re also benefiting from scanning your calendar to get a good mental picture of your day.  And by doing a quick list of your main tasks for the day, this should also help you practice prioritizing before just diving in.  

    You’re teaching yourself to focus on higher value activities.

    You can actually use this simple picture of your day to help envision your results and inspire you. 

    All you have to do is imagine a simple future scene or two for your morning, a simple future scene or two for your afternoon, and a simple future scene or two for your night. 

    And, if you don’t like what you imagine, then re-imagine it, and play out new possibilities.

    A Busy Day, But There’s Always a Chance for Bursts of Brilliance

    For today, I have an exceptionally busy calendar, but I notice that I have a few time slices where I can really focus and nail a few things.

    My 3 planned outcomes for today are:

    1. I have the Devices and Services Story slides 80% complete (and with the right “fingerprints” on them) so that I can shop it around.
    2. I have a test scenario to walk the Modern App Transformation Story so that I can validate our approach before sinking a bunch of time.
    3. I have a simple plan for landing and scaling the Devices and Services readiness material across the organization so I can start to put the right things in the right places.

    If I accomplish those three things, I’ll really be in great shape.   I have a lot of “below the line” things to do today, and a schedule that will randomize me quite a bit, but if I play my cards right, I should be able to pull off my 3 Wins above.

    Play Around with How You State Your Outcomes or Wins

    One thing I’ll point out, and which I hope you noticed, is that each day, I’m playing around with how I represent the 3 Wins (or 3 Outcomes, or 3 Results.)   I want you to play around to so that you find what works for you.   I’m simply showing you a few different variations so that you can see that it’s not about doing it this way or that way that’s important.  

    What’s important is that you have clarity on the 3 things you want out of today and for the week.   I can’t emphasize how important that is as a tool to help you focus and prioritize.

    Appreciate Your Results

    But what it also helps you do is to appreciate what you accomplish.  It gives you a simple way to play back your results, and acknowledge your achievements.  

    It sounds so simple, and it is, but when you appreciate your results, you breathe new life into all your efforts, and you build momentum like you wouldn’t believe.

    Don’t throw that away.  

    Your results are actually your own reward.  

    Cherish your achievements, and enjoy the journey as you go.

    Have a great day, the agile way.

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    Day 4 of 7 Days of Agile Results - Wednesday (Daily Outcomes)

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    Your Outcome: Celebrate your personal victories for the week so far and set yourself up for success for today, and for the rest of the week.

    Happy Hump Day!

    Today is a great day to checkpoint your progress against your 3 outcomes for the week, and re-adjust if necessary.

    But first, let's recap where we are so far:

    What we’re doing to do now is check how we’re doing against the week.  This may impact what we choose to focus on today.

    For example, here is the list my 3 Wins for this week that I want to accomplish:

    1. Dry run of the Devices and Services training deck.
    2. Actionable feedback and next steps based on a walkthrough of all the Enterprise Identity assets.
    3. A test case to use for the Modern App Transformation story to test initial thinking.

    I’ve already achieved the first two outcomes.  As far as #3, it’s starting to feel more like a stretch goal.   I also underestimated how much further I need to take #1, as additional requirements start to come in.  But the more important thing I note is that my backlog of administrative activities has really ballooned out of control to the point where I need to put a solid dent in it today.

    The Agile part here is about always learning, adapting, and improving based on what you learn, and what you want to achieve within the time you and energy you have available.

    Next, I take a look at my calendar, and I jot down a few of the key items that stand out.  I have a presentation first thing in the morning, followed by a few key meetings, and a few sprinkled in the afternoon.   I notice that I have a few open blocks of time where I can focus on some of my heavy lifting.

    With that in mind, let me list out some of the key activities that I have for today:

    - Present my summary and highlights of the Intellectual Property development effort for the past 1/2 year, and the plan for the next six months
    - Review the budget plan and projected spend
    - Create additional slides for the Devices and Services story
    - Help one of my mentees with their career planning and next immediate moves
    - Meet with leads from each of the partner teams to validate our initial plan
    - Set up a series of meetings for next week with colleagues in town from around the world
    - Get detailed feedback from the first wave of results from the off-shore development team
    - Create a plan for scaling the delivery and self-paced training across the organization
    - Hunt down a few colleagues that I need help on a few technical details and drill-downs

    I have a lot to do, but it’s not about quantity.  It’s about impact.  And, I need a simple set of “tests for success for today.”

    Here’s what I choose as my 3 Wins for today to help me stay on track:

    1. The team feels good about the results of the Intellectual Property development efforts so far and believes in the vision
    2. The Devices + Services story includes all the latest feedback (even if just in raw form.)
    3. My administrative backlog is chopped down to size.

    My presentation is already scheduled, so all I’m going to do is show up with a simple message that I want people to take away.   I have a few stories to share, and if people want details, I have more than enough, so I’m set there.

    What I need to do to pull off my other two wins is dedicate a few of my open time blocks in the afternoon to really focus on them.  To nail my administrative backlog, I’m going to do as many things in a batch as possible, while I have my “administrative hat” on.

    To nail the Devices + Services story and integrate the feedback, I’ll need to use some of the time slices earlier in my day to do some initial preparation.      I’ll also need to set expectations with my team that I’ll be heads down while I work through it.

    If I achieve these 3 Wins, I’ll have significant progress, and I’ll be on track for the most important things.  I still have a lot of heavy lifting, but at least I have clarity of what my most important outcomes are.

    With this in mind, I try to get a clear and simple picture of my day.   My morning will be about presenting and attending meetings.  I’ll use lunch as a chance to play out some ideas on the Devices + Services story.  Then, my afternoon will be about turning ideas into slides, and nailing my administrative backlog. 

    I can see it min mind.  And, as the saying goes, “What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.”  But mostly I like the peace of mind that comes from having clarity on my priorities and having a simple picture of my day that I can use a baseline.

    Will my day get messy?  You bet.  In fact, I expect the unexpected.  But will I be able to roll with the punches? Yes, a lot better now that I have a map of my day, and I know that’s truly important.  Now, I can deliberately trade up for new opportunities, or respond to challenges more effectively as they come my way.

    Today is a big hump in the week.  

    But, through some quick and simple planning and map, I’m already on top of it.

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    Day 1 of 7 Days of Agile Results - Sunday (Getting Started)

    Day 2 of 7 Days of Agile Results – Monday (Monday Vision)

    Day 3 of 7 Days of Agile Results – Tuesday (Daily Outcomes)

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    Day 3 of 7 Days of Agile Results – Tuesday (Daily Outcomes)

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    imageYour Outcome:  Learn how to use Daily Outcomes to identify 3 outcomes or 3 Wins for today.  By identifying your best 3 Wins for the day, you’ll be able to focus and prioritize throughout the day to achieve better results.

    Welcome to Day 3 of 7 Days of Agile Results.  Agile Results is the productivity system introduced in my best-selling time management book, Getting Results the Agile Way.

    Just to do a quick recap, here’s what we’ve done so far:

    Now, for today, let’s get started.

    It’s a fresh start.  This is your chance to choose the best things to focus on that will help you make the most impact today.

    Here’s a simple process you can use to get started:

    1. Scan your calendar so you can get a good picture of the key events in your day.  You want to get a good sense of the priorities.
    2. Write down a simple list of the key tasks you have on your plate for today.
    3. Now, at the top of your list, identify 3 outcomes that would make this a great day.   Think of these as your 3 Wins for today, to help you focus and prioritize throughout your day.

    For example, here are my 3 outcomes that I want for today:

    1. People in the meeting buy into the Scenarios + Architecture + Value approach
    2. Review meeting of the Devices + Services story leads to closure of open issues
    3. Sync up leads to a breakthrough I can apply to our production process

    Those then act as my “tests for success” for the day.  Do I have a lot of tasks on my plate for the day?  You bet.

    Do I have a lot of meetings to attend?  Yep.

    Will I be trying to use some of the little time slices in my day to try and complete many of my tasks?  Of course.

    Will I be dealing with interruptions throughout the day, as well?  Yes, to that, too.

    I will be dealing with chaos while riding the dragon.  And throughout the day, I’ll be driving to my 3 outcomes.

    They are my North Star, while I deal with whatever comes my way throughout the day.

    May your 3 Wins guide you and provide you with clarity, conviction, and calmness among the chaos – TODAY.

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    Day 1 of 7 Days of Agile Results - Sunday (Getting Started)

    Day 2 of 7 Days of Agile Results – Monday (Monday Vision)

    10 Big Ideas from Getting Results the Agile Way

    Agile Results on a Page

    The Values of  Agile Results

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    Day 2 of 7 Days of Agile Results - Monday (Monday Vision)

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    imageYour Outcome:  Learn how to use Monday Vision to identify 3 outcomes or 3 Wins for the week.  By identifying your best 3 Wins for the week, you’ll be able to focus and prioritize throughout the week to achieve better results.

    Welcome to Day 2 of 7 Days of Agile Results.  Agile Results is the productivity system introduced in my best-selling time management book, Getting Results the Agile Way.

    Today’s focus is on identifying your 3 outcomes for the week.

    Have you ever had a week fly by and when Friday hits you’re asking yourself, “Where did the week go?” 

    Not any more. 

    With Monday Vision, you take a moment to jump ahead to the end of the week, and you ask yourself, “If this were Friday, what are three outcomes, wins, or results that I would want under my belt?” 

    Monday is your chance to create a compelling vision for your week. 

    It’s flexible, but I’m going to walk you through a specific approach, so that you know how to start.  When you first start, it might take you a little longer, but with practice, it really is just a 10 minute exercise, if that.

    Save More Time and Effort While Creating More Value This Week

    You’re going to spend a week of your time.   Slow down to speed up.  Yeah, it really works.  This is a quick and simple way to get more value out of the time you already spend, and you can save a lot of time each day and each week by focusing on the key things that matter the most.  If you can shave off things that matter less, to focus on things that matter more, you win the game

    There will always be more to do than you can effectively do, so this is a way to set a healthy bar for results.

    The summary of what you’re going to do today is to write out a quick list of the things on your plate for this week, and then identify the 3 most important outcomes for the week.   Next, you’ll list out your tasks for today, and then identify your 3 most important outcomes for today.

    Let’s go to it  …

    Step 1 – Write Down Your List of Important Things for This week

    Write down a quick list of things you want to accomplish this week.   If you need to, scan your calendar for the week to remind yourself of some of the big activities you have, key meetings, and any significant events.

    Here is a simple example of a dump of actions and things going on for the week:

    Example List of Tasks for the Week

    - Create a draft of the slides for the Devices and Services story.
    - Map out the big rocks for work for Q3 and Q4.
    - Review the scenarios, architecture, and value story for Enterprise Identity story.
    - Create a simple plan for integrating sales collateral with delivery assets.
    - Schedule a working session to figure out the Modern App Transformation approach.
    - Meet with Steve to collaborate on how to integrate our methods, models, and approach for helping Enterprise customers with Devices and Services.
    - Meet with field leads to get detailed feedback on the information product model and any adoption blockers or issues.
    - Team meeting with field to walkthrough new releases and latest evolution of the framework.

    There’s more I could add, but for now, let’s use above as a sample working set.  And, obviously there are a bunch of sub-activities and tasks to actually complete each item above.

    The idea is to quickly generate a simple list of things you'll be working on this week.   By having this list at your fingertips, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this week is about, and where you need to spend most of your time and energy.

    Step 2 – Write Down 3 Wins that You Want to Accomplish for This Week

    Now, at the top of your list, write down 3 things that you really want to accomplish for this week.   These will be the goals that remind you what’s important throughout the week.

    Here is an example of the same list, but now I’ve written down my 3 most important goals and achievements at the top:

    Example List of Tasks for the Week with 3 Wins at the Top

    1. Devices + Services slides are ready to go.
    2. The Enterprise Identity story is ready to ship.
    3. FY15 plans are in place (straw man)

    - Create a draft of the slides for the Devices and Services story.
    - Map out the big rocks for work for Q3 and Q4.
    - Review the scenarios, architecture, and value story for Enterprise Identity story.
    - Create a simple plan for integrating sales collateral with delivery assets.
    - Schedule a working session to figure out the Modern App Transformation approach.
    - Meet with Steve to collaborate on how to integrate our methods, models, and approach for helping Enterprise customers with Devices and Services.
    - Meet with field leads to get detailed feedback on the information product model and any adoption blockers or issues.

    I still have a long list of things to do (it’s longer than I’m showing here), but I have listed my 3 most important outcomes at the top.  Those are my tests for success.  If I can accomplish those, then I should feel good about my progress and achievements.   The assumption here is that I did a good job of picking the 3 outcomes that deliver the most value, and that I have the ability to execute

    If I didn’t, I will learn and adapt during the week, and especially when I get to Friday Reflection this Friday.

    Chances are you have more to do than you have time to do, so this is really an exercise in prioritization.  But it’s also an exercise in simplification.  You could easily generate a laundry list of everything on your plate, but that’s not the idea.  The goal is to get clear on 3 things that you can achieve this week, that would make your best impact and help you focus and prioritize throughout the week.

    It’s about getting pragmatic about what you can actually achieve this week, and what actually matters.   There’s no point in focusing on a bunch of things you won’t do.

    Step 3 – Write Down 3 Wins that you Want to Accomplish Today

    Since this is Monday, not only do I want to identify my 3 Wins for the week, I also want to identify my 3 Wins or 3 Outcomes for today.   They may or may not directly support my 3 Wins for the week, but they at least help me achieve what I need to accomplish today.

    Keep in mind, that since I now know my 3 most important outcomes for the week, I can choose better outcomes today to support my week.  Awareness actually helps us avoid letting the week fly by and then wondering where it went and why we didn’t achieve the things that matter.

    Similar to the week, I’ll list out my activities for today, but it’s a much faster process, since I can glance at my calendar for the day, and I already have several things that are top of mind for today.   But, the key step here is to identify my 3 Wins for today.

    For example, for today, my 3 Wins that I want to accomplish are:

    Example List of 3 Outcomes for Today

    1. Dry run of the Devices and Services training deck.
    2. Actionable feedback and next steps based on a walkthrough of all the Enterprise Identity assets.
    3. A test case to use for the Modern App Transformation story to test initial thinking.

    Each of those outcomes is a valuable results and paves the way for other work that will help me have a high-impact week.

    Do I have many, many other things to also accomplish?  You bet.   But if I achieve those 3 goals, then I will have accomplished my most important results.

    It’s also worth pointing out that each of those goals has a lot of steps and sub-steps and activities within them.  The point is that I’m not tracking tasks.  I’m focusing on outcomes. and I let my brain do what it does best, which is figure out the right tasks as I go, as I’m working towards each outcome.   But the most important things to keep front and center, are the outcomes to work towards.   Otherwise, it’s easy to get lost among a sea of activities, and a jungle of tasks, and lose sight of the priorities and outcomes that matter.

    Side note: I do keep a list of the tasks I’m working on, but I focus on the outcomes.  A simple thing to keep in mind is write your To Do list for today, and then add your 3 Wins or 3 Outcomes to the top.

    Recap

    So, to recap, here’s what we did:

    1. We listed out our work for the week, and then wrote down our 3 outcomes that we want to achieve for the week.  This is Monday Vision.
    2. We listed out our work for the day, and then wrote down our 3 outcomes for today.  This is Daily Wins.
    3. We produced a simple list of 3 Wins for this week and 3 Wins for today that we will try to achieve.  This helps us start Monday off with a clear vision of impact for the week, and for today, in a very simple way.

    One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not that you are limiting yourself to “3 things.”  It’s achieving 3 Wins.  You are focusing on achieving 3 significant outcomes that matter each day, and each week.   Think of it as a way of turning a chaos of activity into simple goals that are easy to remember and pull everything together into something that matters.

    Assignment

    1. Review your 3 Wins for this week.   Are they simple and sticky to say out loud?  Do they really represent value?  If this week were over, are those really the 3 things that you would regret if you didn’t accomplish them?
    2. Review your 3 Wins for today.  If you accomplished those by the end of today, would you feel like you had a successful day?  If not, then go back to the drawing board and identify 3 outcomes that you can both realistically achieve and that you will feel good about.

    It’s important to remind yourself that you can’t do everything, and that you especially can’t do everything all at once.  So, the best you can do is spend the right time, on the right things, with the right energy, the right way.   If you keep this little formula in mind, and apply it when you choose your 3 outcomes to focus on for today, you will be ahead of the game.

    In fact, that’s also a great way to help you choose your 3 outcomes for today.  Ask yourself, “What are the 3 best outcomes I can produce today with the time and energy I have available?”

    Congrats for completing day 2 of 7 Days of Agile Results.

    And note, if you’ve successfully identified 3 compelling Wins for today and 3 compelling Wins for the week, you are ahead of 99% of the population who has not and will not take the time to actually do this.    You’ve made your day more meaningful, your week more meaningful, and you’ve created a way to better prioritize and focus throughout the week.

    You have set a powerful stage for your success throughout the week.

    You Might Also Like

    7 Days of Agile Results: Day 1 - Sunday (Getting Started)

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  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Day 1 of 7 Days of Agile Results - Sunday (Getting Started)

    • 3 Comments

    imageYour Outcome:  Learn how to get started quickly with Agile Results, even if you've never read the book.

    Welcome to day 1 of 7 Days of Agile Results.  By following along each day, you can learn how to use Agile Results as a powerful system to easily triple your productivity.

    Agile Results is the productivity system introduced in my best-selling time management book, Getting Results the Agile Way.

    You don't have to invest a lot of time, to get a lot of benefits.  You don't even need any ramp up time.  You can just get started now and implement other concepts from the book as time goes by, and when you are ready for those concepts.

    The main idea is to get benefits now vs. later.

    Here are some of the big benefits you'll gain from using Agile Results as your productivity system:

    1. You'll automatically master time management, motivation, and personal productivity by using proven practices.
    2. You'll improve and amplify your impact by focusing on your top 3 Wins for the week.
    3. You'll avoid getting overloaded and overwhelmed by your day by using 3 Wins each day to focus and prioritize your time, energy, and attention.
    4. You'll reduce your stress and improve your peace of mind by generating a vision for your week and for each day.
    5. You'll improve your satisfaction each day by knowing that you actually got the important things done.
    6. You'll quickly learn how to improve your productivity through continuous learning, feedback, and changing your approach.
    7. You'll learn how to embrace change and get better results in any situation.

    With that in mind, let's take a quick look at how Agile Results works:

    1. On Mondays, write down 3 outcomes or "Wins" that you want for the week. (This is called Monday Vision.)
    2. Each day, write down 3 outcomes or "Wins" that you want for each day. (This is called Daily Outcomes.)
    3. On Fridays, ask yourself, "What are 3 things going well?," and, "What are 3 things to improve?", and write your answers down. (This is called Friday Reflection.)

    This is the Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection pattern in Agile Results.  It’s a simple pattern for weekly results.  By focusing on 3 Wins each week, and each day, you apply concentrated effort to your most important results.  Focus is your force multiplier.

    It might sound incredibly simple, but that's the idea.   Agile Results really is a simple system for meaningful results

    Simple, but powerful. 

    When you identify 3 outcomes or "Wins", what you are doing is:

    1. Prioritizing among your multiple, competing priorities.
    2. Focusing on your highest value results.
    3. Creating a way to more consistently produce better and better results.

    What you are actually doing is learning how to identify and produce continuous value … the agile way.

    And, as you will learn, value is the ultimate short-cut.

    Assignment

    1. Read a few case studies and testimonials to understand some of the results that people achieve using Agile Results.
    2. Add a reminder to your calendar to test-drive Agile Results each day for this week.
  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Extreme Goal Setting for 2014

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    When’s the last time you went for your personal Epic Win?   If it’s been a while, no worries.  Let’s go big this year.

    I’ll give you the tools.

    I realize time and again, that Bruce Lee was so right when he said, “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”  Similarly, William B. Sprague told us, “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” 

    And, Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”   Similarly, Alan Kay said, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

    Well then?  Game on!

    By the way, if you’re not feeling very inspired, check out either my 37 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life, Motivational Quotes, or my Inspirational Quotes.  They are intense, and I bet you can find your favorite three.

    As I’ve been diving deep into goal setting and goal planning, I’ve put together a set of deep dive posts that will give you a very in-depth look at how to set and achieve any goal you want.   Here is my roundup so far:

    Brian Tracy on 12 Steps to Set and Achieve Any Goal

    Brian Tracy on the Best Times for Writing and Reviewing Your Goals

    Commit to Your Best Year Ever

    Goal Setting vs. Goal Planning

    How To Find Your Major Definite Purpose

    How To Use 3 Wins for the Year to Have Your Best Year Ever

    The Power of Annual Reviews for Achieving Your Goals and Realizing Your Potential

    What Do You Want to Spend More Time Doing?

    Zig Ziglar on Setting Goals

    Hopefully, my posts on goal setting and goal planning save you many hours (if not days, weeks, etc.) of time, effort, and frustration on trying to figure out how to really set and achieve your goals.   If you only read one post, at least read Goal Setting vs. Goal Planning because this will put you well ahead of the majority of people who regularly don’t achieve their goals.

    In terms of actions, if there is one thing to decide, make it Commit to Your Best Year Ever.

    Enjoy and best wishes for your greatest year ever and a powerful 2014.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    The Most Effective CIOs in 2014

    • 0 Comments

    I was reading The Fruits of Innovation: Top 10 IT Trends in 2014, by Mark Harris.

    Harris had this to say about the evolving role of the CIO:

    “In the end, these leaders are now tasked to accurately manage, predict, execute and justify. Hence, the CIO’s role will evolve. Previously, CIOs were mostly technologists that were measured almost exclusively by availability and uptime. The CIO’s job was all about crafting a level of IT services that the company could count on, and the budgeting process needed to do so was a mostly a formality.”

    Harris had this to say about the best qualities in a CIO:

    “The most effective CIOs in 2014 will be business managers that understand the wealth of technology options now available, the costs associated with each as well as the business value of each of the various services they are chartered to deliver. He or she will map out a plan that delivers just the right amount service within their agreed business plan. Email, for instance, may have an entirely different value to a company than their online store, so the means to deliver these diverse services will need to be different. It is the 2014 CIO’s job to empower their organizations to deliver just the right services at just the right cost.”

    That matches what I’ve been seeing.

    CIOs need business acumen and the ability to connect IT to business impact.

    Another way to think of it is, the CIO needs to help accelerate and realize business value from IT investments.

    Value Realization is hot.

    You Might Also Like

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  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    How To Have Your Best Year Ever

    • 2 Comments

    There’s a little trick I learned about how to have your best year ever:

    Commit to Your Best Year Ever

    That’s it.

    And, it actually works.

    When you decide to have your best year ever, and you make it a mission, you find a way to make it happen.

    You embrace the challenges and the changes that come you way. 

    You make better choices throughout the year, in a way that moves you towards your best year ever.

    A while back, our team, did exactly that.   We decided we wanted to make the coming year our best year ever.  We wanted a year we could look back on, and know that we gave it our best shot.  We wanted a year that mattered.  And we were willing to work for it.

    And, it worked like a champ.

    In fast, most of us go our best reviews at Microsoft.  Ever.

    It’s not like it’s magic.  It works because it sets the stage.  It sets the stage for great expectations.  And, when you expect more, from yourself, or from the world, you start to look for and leverage more opportunities to make that come true.

    It also helps you role with the punches.   You find ways to turnaround negative situations into more positive ones.  You find ways to take setbacks as learning opportunities to experience your greatest growth.  You look for ways to turn ordinary events into extraordinary adventures.

    And when you get knocked down.  You try again.  Because you’re on a mission.

    When you make it a mission to have your best year ever, you stretch yourself a little more.  You try new things.  You take old things to new heights.

    But there’s a very important distinction here.   You have to own the decision. 

    It has to be your choice.   YOU have to choose it so that you internalize it, and actually believe it, so that you actually act on it.

    Otherwise, it’s just a neat idea, but you won’t live it.

    And if you don’t live it, it won’t happen.

    But, as soon as you decide that no matter what, this will be YOUR best year ever, you unleash your most resourceful self.

    If you’ve forgotten what it’s like to go for the epic win, then watch this TED talk and my notes:

    Go For the Epic Win

    Best wishes for your best year.

    Ever.

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