Book Summary: Getting Results the Agile Way by J.D. Meier

Key Thoughts

Getting Results the Agile Way is a great productivity book on building a Personal Productivity System to manage your life - both work and personal. I’d recommend this book for anyone starting to build a productivity system for themselves. If you are familiar with Agile concepts and methodologies, a lot of it might be familiar, but still worth a quick skim if you are looking to pick up a trick or two.

Summary

Being Agile is all about easily responding to change. Agile Results is a system for results, optimized around time and comes with a set of principles, patterns, and practices to guide you through your journey.

Time is fixed, so Flex Scope to achieve what’s most important for you.

The key is to spend your time working on the right things with your best energy and the best techniques

Embracing change is easier done if you are not constrained by rigid planning.

Setting goals for any duration is always focused on one Rule - The Rule of 3. Focus on 3 Goals or Outcomes for a day, week, month, quarter, or year. Over time you’ll be able to learn your actual capacity.

Setting mini-goals and actions and building up a rhythm for results helps to keep the momentum.

Always favour Action over Thinking, Energy over Time, Focus over Quantity, Outcomes over Activities, Value Up over Backlog burndown, and your Strengths over Weakness.

Change your Approach when something is not working, Focus more on doing (80/20 principle), Deliver incremental value and iterate, Set Boundaries etc. are some of the guiding rules that can help you stay Agile.

When setting Goals, it is crucial to focus on and prioritize the ‘Hot Spots’ of your life. Hot Spots are the key areas in your life that deserve your time, energy and attention. They are categorized into three on a high level - mainly focusing on your Life, Work and Personal.

Focusing across your main Hot Spots is essential as they complement and support each other in the longer run. Setting time and energy boundaries on hot spots allows you to avoid over-investing in one area and ignoring another.

If you are familiar with Scrum (an agile methodology), Agile embraces Sprint Planning, Daily Standup, and Retrospective into its core system. It lays the Agile Results System’s foundation and is referred to as - Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection.

  • Monday Vision focuses on looking forward to the week and identifying three outcomes for the week.

  • Daily Outcomes ensures we are focused and moving closer to our weekly plan.

  • Friday Reflection helps to look back and reflect and improve. Carry forward the learning from each week into the next and incorporate them.

A good reflection system is not simply listing three things going well and three things to improve. It’s taking the time to use it as a true learning session

Prioritization is critical when having a lot of tasks to do. It could be as simple as classifying tasks into

  • MUST → Must get done
  • SHOULD → Nice to get done
  • COULD → Dream to get done

Design Your Day to help you make the most of any day. Having a morning routine to Start Your Day enables you to ease into flow. Visualize the outcomes you are setting out to achieve.

Decide and carve out time for what is important to you.

Drive your Day by getting the big and hard things done upfront or during your peak hours of focus. Take breaks often and make sure to disengage completely to energize better.

When ending the workday, dump the state to pick up from where you left quickly. Reflect at the end of the day, and make sure to rejoice in the small wins you have made: this fuels self-motivation and inturn action.

Given that we spend our lives one day at a time, the real difference in our lives is how we spend each day.

Carve out time for the important things in your life - You don’t have time, You make time!.

Avoid all or nothing thinking. We are likely not to achieve everything we planned. Learn and adjust, deliver value incrementally.

Design your Month, Quarter, Year with the Rule of 3 in mind. Manage your expectations to avoid being overwhelmed.

Motivation get’s us started, habits keeps us going. Build good habits, routines, and self-discipline to stay on the correct path.

Focus on your efforts, not outcomes. Not all results are entirely under your control, so believe the system, try and adapt to get closer to your desired outcomes. Embrace a positive and growth mindset

The key to success is looking ahead just enough to know that the next vital few things you do, contribute to the results you want to accomplish.

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