• Sriram Rajagopalan

Using Personal Agility to Improve Personal Productivity

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

It was 1990. My mother was a Math teacher in high school and I had gone to pick her up from school. As she came out, she told me she was asked to give a poster session the following week to a consortium of students from multiple class levels focused on Geometry. My mother was wondering what specific geometry area can be chosen for multiple grade levels.

Brainstorming ideas as I rode my bike with my mother, I suggested that she should discuss the cost of making geometrical errors. She was curious and I expanded. Say, a ship had to travel at 42 degrees for 4 days on her voyage reaching a specific island. If the ship had an error and started her voyage at 41 degrees, then, she could completely miss her destined island or probably reach another section of the island where there may not be docking facilities. My mother was thrilled at the idea as it not only brought the cost of quality but also continuous focus on course corrections and the subsequent economic risks of course corrections later. Our poster entitled, "After all, what can one degree error mean?" emphasized "prevention is better than cure" and won the prize.

Cost of One Degree Error
Cost of One Degree Error

But, the same cost of one degree can apply to personal life in improving productivity as well by mastering the principles of personal agility! I have always practiced agile principles at home at personal level beyond its commercial value proposition. That's for another time, however. When we prioritize what matters most to us, then, we release time available within our schedules to do more. After all, doing more with less while still being happy is the foundation behind productivity. Right?

To illustrate, let me show a simple example. In my current capacity as an agile coach and professional trainer at Inflectra corporation, an assistant teaching professor at Northeastern University, founder and president of my own training organization, Agile Training Champions, and a volunteer board member at Boston University Agile Innovation Lab, I had enough to keep me busy. Nevertheless, the unprecedented and turbulent times with the COVID-19 pandemic had demanded every parent to take on more roles with the remote school. My life was not any different either while balancing the new emerging parent role as the 'parent-teacher-IT Support-social worker-Cafeteria Cook-Physical Education Trainer' was "telling!". But, it is these tough times that we also have to demonstrate the level of care to others. That's exactly what I did to my son by incorporating personal agility.

The Personal Agility System introduced the concept of stakeholder canvas where it acknowledged stakeholder's fears and frustrations (risk) along with an open forum to understand the frustrations (one form of communication) as we defined goals and objectives (scope) and things that really mattered to be done (schedule) along with the expectations of awesomeness (quality) so that we can support the stakeholder with what is required. So, instead of just focusing on my work, I showed my son my board where he was part of the weekly and daily commitments for me to start the day with "our combined definition of a successful today." As we progressed working together maximizing what we had available (resources), we made course corrections (integrate change) and celebrated the week with our accomplishments.

So, what did it do? It connected myself as the caretaker in multiple roles to support my son and increased the visibility of my work amidst the other work (not all my cards shown) to my son. So, we managed to balance our work along with school commitments. The visibility allowed us to inspect ourselves for better alignment of commitments while enhancing our ability to adapt ourselves to meet the new emerging role of parent and student in today's world. Thanks to Personal Agility for making it simpler and possible.

Illustrating Personal Agility Using My Trello Board
Illustrating Personal Agility Using My Trello Board

Thanks Jim Hannon for introducing me to Peter and thanks Peter for introducing me to the personal agility.

If you want to know more about this personal agility, please reach out to me.

69 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
  • facebook-square
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • YouTube Classic
  • Twitter Classic

© 2020 by Agile Training Champions