End of Iteration 2 (“Capacity”) and Start of Iteration 3 (“Automation”)

This second iteration when much better than the first. I committed to an amount of work that was much closer to my real capacity, and I stayed more focused on that work. Here are the results of my demo, retrospective and planning for Iteration 3 which I am calling “Automation” for reasons which will be described below.


Demo

I committed to the following items from my Work Queue:

Client1 Proposal Writing

– 1 day intermediate team course

– phone consult details

– QA/tools coaching

– email proposal

Client2 Invoice

– get template from them

– collect hours

– collect receipts

– image receipts

– currency convert receipts if needed

– type up hours

– type up receipts

– email/submit

Client2 work

– 4 hour task

– 4 hour task

– 4 hour task

– 4 hour task

– 4 hour task

– 4 hour task

– 4 hour task

– 4 hour task

India Training

– ping Contact1 “V”

– ping Contact2 “N”

– ping Contact3 “M”

– ping Contact4 “S”

– ping Contact5 “V”

– air reservations

– prepare visa application

– submit visa application

– hotel reservations

Client3 Statement of Account

– equipment

– invoice 1

– invoice 2

I also added these in the middle of the iteration (which is really a “no-no”, but I did it anyway to my regret).

New: update Agile Advice articles to use categories as Technorati tags

– change individual entry archive template

– remove technorati links from 6 articles

– rebuild site

New: Intro to Agile Work Book

– work with Alexei on structure

– incorporate Alexeis feedback on writing

– work with Alexei on layout and design

What did I actually get done? Here are the stats:

For Iteration 002 – “Capacity”:
# Work Queue Items At Start: 5
# Work Queue Items Completed: 3
# Tasks at Start: 32
# Tasks Remaining: 17

What is scary is that my velocity is exactly the same in terms of number of tasks: I really need to start my iterations with only 15 tasks.

Anyway, what I need to do for my next iteration is schedule my “demo” with my other stakeholder (my wife Melanie). Demo’ing to myself in the wee hours of the morning is not really practical in terms of my overall goal for this project (running my business at a sustainable pace).

Retrospective

Here are the things that went well:

– Came much closer to getting everything done that was in my iteration. This was great – I continued to use Tiddly Wiki to track my Work Queue and Tasks.
– Felt less stress. Although I still worked very hard, I was not worried nearly as much about the things still on my Work Queue that weren’t in this iteration. I also decided on certain boundaries to work: generally work 4 to 6 hours during the day and another few hours after lights out (usually after 11pm).
– The prioritization worked well – didn’t feel impelled to do too much that was _not_ in the iteration. Althought I did take a couple more items in, it was more because of opportunity than anything else. My brother Alexei wanted to help me with my book (for example). Next time around, perhaps I should be more explicit about negotiating with myself about taking something out of the iteration if I bring something in.

Here are the things that need improvment:

– Get even better at judging capacity and committing to an appropriate amount of work. The numbers speak loudly! This next iteration I have to limit myself to 3 items from the Work Queue and about 15 tasks. I have to remind myself that I can always bring more work in if I complete my work early and I still have time.
– Care with long term scheduling – made a mistake in my scheduling with a Client – hopefully it will be okay! This is a bit of a nit, but I need to keep my daybook up-to-date even with long-term stuff.
– Spending time with my family – e.g. playing with kids, helping around house, assisting with homeschooling. This was better than I was doing in Dec., but I need to continue to improve here. I would really like to work with Justice and Haifa on learning Chinese. We’ve got tons of materials to do it, just need the discipline to get through it together.

Planning

Okay, maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’ve decided on four items from my Work Queue:

Client2 Invoice
Client2 Work
Automate Listing of Scheduled Courses on 3 Sites
Client3 Statement of Account

The key one is the automation since that will be an investment to save me time later on. In my task breakdown it looks like this (tasks with an “x” are already done from the previous iteration):

Client2 Invoice

x- get template from them

x- collect hours

– determine expense policy

– invoice R0001-001:

— collect receipts

— image receipts

— currency convert receipts if needed

x– type up hours

– invoice R0001-002:

— type up hours

– invoice R0001-003:

— type up hours

– email/submit

Client2 work

– 4 hours

– 4 hours

– 4 hours

– 4 hours

– 4 hours

– 4 hours

Automate listing of scheduled courses on 3 sites

– ScrumAlliance

– Google Base

– Berteig Consulting

Client3 Statement of Account

– laptop

– Visa

– old Visa

So, that’s 4 items from the Work Queue and 17 tasks (the ones with “–” in front of them are sub-tasks… not sure how to handle those, but for now I’m not counting them separately.

I’m really excited about this. It sucks to see that I get so little done in a single week, but on the other hand, knowing my capacity allows me to understand just how much work I have on my plate and how badly I need two things: automation and assistance! I’m going to start with automation, but I’m also looking for assistance. The trouble is that I can’t affort to hire someone on a salary… (if you know anyone who would be interested in working on commission/revenue-sharing basis, I would love to talk!).


One final note: I did manage to include my wife Melanie in my planning for this iteration. She seemed pleased ­čÖé


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