The Black Woman Guide to the Agile Life – Transforming to Continuous Improvement and Story Fulfillment

agilegirl One of the things I observe about sistas is she live in a world where she is constantly judged in a binary format by others. Either she is cool or a bitch, success or a failure, fine or basic, smash or a pass by dudes and her own peers in her religious, professional and family social circles. Many sistas attempting to adjust to the harsh judgements fall victim to psychological issues, mental breakdown and resort to responses such as cosmetic surgery and high-risk sexual pursuits, self-isolation which in turn leads to more personal problems where the sista is responding to being judged in an either/or manner. I meet so many sistas who served in the military in both Iraq and Afghanistan while brothas sitting in front of a screen typing in a comment section somewhere or playing Call of Duty and Black Ops. I meet so many sistas making move and global - anybody who smart can tell the top photo above, that sista in pink has Singapore in the background. I meet so many sistas in the corporate world and entrepreneur world and I do networking in both and see the raw talent and the mission that a sista trying to get on. But there is a media/religion/professional structure that characterize women in that binary format where at the end of the day, her identity is portrayed as if she wants to sleep with a guy or not. So you see a constant bombardment of judgement passed to sistas and her big mistake is to respond to the judgement by others by trying to be validated and accepted. Sistas should reject any attempt at being judged in a binary format and take control of her life, her purpose and direction to seek the fulfillment she desires. One proposed route is to adopt the Agile methodology that focus on continuous improvement and story fulfillment and in this article, we want sistas to start learning more about incorporating Agile methodology into her personal life to view her life as a journey, not a binary output. Agile The Agile methodology focus on defining the story and fulfilling the story in incremental small steps that are called scrums. Whether the small step worked out or not does not matter – what matters is you pursued your story. If you think of it in this way, there is no such thing as failure or the binary output. You do not succeed or fail but you continuously improve, even from lessons learned in setbacks. So in other words, you are always pursuing the story you defined for yourself no matter what the outcome is. Over time, your story will take shape from small steps and small accomplishments in a direction you have not expected and will look back and realize that you created your own story in life. That is the Agile methodology and why sistas should adopt this approach to how she wants to move forward in life. Let’s talk about the components of a Scrum process the Agile methodology relies upon to execute story fulfillment. planning The Backlog. This is a list of everything you want to accomplish. This is where you have a bunch of post-it notes and put one thought on the post-it note and stick it to the wall. Let this be a freestyle session and take everything – everything you can think of on your mind and put it on the wall so you can stand back and see your thoughts visualized in front of you instead of swirling in your head. Enter all of these items on your wall into a general list, do not try to arrange or organized - leave it unorganized and just list it freestyle. stories Sprint Planning. From your post-it notes, it’s time to start organizing the items from your list into a epic, feature and stories. Epic is the big picture like having a great social life, a feature is having good friends, user stories are defined as you would like to have friends that are responsible and the task is to attend networking sessions and make connects and an issue is you gave a PUA clown your phone number. The best tool to use for your sprint planning is the FreeMind mind map software we suggested sistas use to create her repository/stream strategy for self-branding. Sprint Backlog. This section is the most important part of this whole article and your whole life. What you need to do is make sure you do not try to look at a big task or big endeavor. What you want to do is a very small or short task to make up the story. If you want to change your wardrobe, your task can be as simple as buying just one sundress this weekend. Do the small task, accomplish it and realize you fulfilled your story – don’t run out and try to buy a whole wardrobe or feel you not accomplished until you have it all, do small incremental steps and live in the real-time moment you are taking action every day and small moments to fulfill your story. Your sprint backlog is the tasks you feel are important to address sooner than later then create a plan of action to take against your stories and fulfill them in a short interval called a scrum or sprint. So take a few of the tasks on your list and create your first interval or sprint to accomplish and make it small. Kaban Sprint Execution and Daily Scrum. To execute your small task, you should make sure you are holding yourself responsible to fulfilling your story. Give yourself a time-limit such as a week or two to fulfill the small tasks on your list. At the beginning do stories that are quick to accomplish so you can feel comfortable like organize your paperwork or rearrange your home. The tool you use is called a Kaban board and it can be a white board or any board that let you divide up your tasks as what to do, what you are currently doing and what is done to show progress. You move post it notes of the task to the done section to show progress. While there is software for a Kaban board, the most effective way it using post-it notes on a wall in your home-based center of excellence (formerly known as a home office). Sprint Review. After you completed the small sprint, you want to review or deliver what you promise. You sit back and ask did you start the exercise routine as promised? Did you buy the fashion you wanted? Did you work on the job hunt and found 5 leads to pursue? If you have not, you have to move that task from the done back to the backlog and do it again in another iteration of continuous improvement. You do not start over, you just make it a new cycle. Life is life and you keep it moving and don’t let tasks or things make you feel stuck. What is important is you pursued a sprint and that is what matter. retrospect Sprint Retrospective. After you performed the sprint and interval of tasks and delivered on them, take a moment to reflect and retrospect on what you done. What could have you done better? How do you feel now after you completed the mission? This gives you room for continuous improvement for the next iteration and all you will do is get better over time as a result. Living Out a Continuous Improvement Story Senior Black woman sitting on floor with exercise equipment Every sista should learn how to fulfill her story and work on a path of continuous improvement. We see all the loser brothas and side hating sistas coming around trying to pass either/or judgement on a sista at church, on the Internet in media programming and in professional/social events and settings. Sistas have to learn to stop reacting to being judged in this fashion and focus on Agile where she develops her story and fulfill it. Sistas, only you can fulfill your story. There is no man that can complete you and there is no one out there that can make you truly happy. Learn to live your life where you define your story of who you are and how you want your story to grow. Then take the tasks and steps necessary to fulfil that story in a continuous improvement manner. Over time, you sistas will have a new outlook, control of your life and realize this is a journey, not a status. Sistas, it’s time to stop living your life and start living your story.