Does anyone actually use agile development or at least heard of it? ;) Agile Glossary ^AccuRev

Agile Term Definition

Agile Application Lifecycle Management

Also called Agile ALM, Agile Application Lifecycle Management is the integrated management platform of the entire software application lifecycle, from planning to the final release. Key components of the platform include the ability to handle change management, workflow, source code management, task management, testing and bug tracking, reporting and analytics.

Agile Practices

Agile practices are procedures that are defined as being highly efficient to productivity, and include the following practices: user stories, cross-functional teams, unit testing, refactoring, continuous integration, multi-stage continuous integration, planning poker, burnup charts, burndown charts.

Agile Development

Agile development is a way of thinking about software development as expressed in the Agile Manifesto, and acts as an “umbrella” for a group of methodologies. The methodologies are based on process-centric and iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. Agile development is a conceptual framework that promotes evolutionary change throughout the entire life cycle of the project and represents a new, more flexible approach to development than the traditional methods that have previously been the norm for software development.

Agile Development Life Cycle

The complete software development process including Agile practices such as user stories, cross-functional teams, unit testing, refactoring, continuous integration, multi-stage continuous integration, planning poker, burnup charts, burndown charts.

Agile Manifesto

Principles of Agile software development: “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Agile Processes

A software development methodology based on process-centric and iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams and is collectively regarded as highly efficient to productivity. Specific processes include user stories, cross functional teams, unit testing, refactoring, continuous integration, multi-stage continuous integration, planning poker, burnup charts and burndown charts.

Agile Project Management

The process of planning, organizing, and managing the necessary resources in order to complete project goals while adhering to Agile practices.

Agile SCM Tool

Software Configuration Management tool that supports Agile Software Development Lifecycle requirements differently than requirements involved with traditional software development. These supported features and requirements of Agile SCM include feature-oriented development, sandboxing with private build before check-in, ability to revert to last good working version when integration testing fails, staging hierarchy, ability to revert and retarget changes, refactoring support and support for geographically distributed development.

Agile Software Development

Agile software development is a way of thinking about software development, as expressed in the Agile Manifesto, and acts as an “umbrella” for a group of methodologies. The methodologies are based on process-centric and iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. Agile software development is a conceptual framework that promotes evolutionary change throughout the entire life cycle of the project and represents a new, more flexible approach to development than the traditional methods that have been the norm for software development.

Application Development Process Tools

Tools necessary to complete the application development process, such as Application Lifecycle Management tools, Software Configuration Management tools, Build and Release tools, security and defect tracking tools, etc.

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

Also called ALM, Application Lifecycle Management is the management platform of the entire software application lifecycle, from planning to the final release. Key components of the platform include the ability to handle change management, workflow, source code management, task management, testing and bug tracking, reporting and analytics.

Backlog

Also knows as “product backlog,” the backlog is a prioritized list of user stories and defects in order from most valuable to least valuable for a system. Backlogs include both functional and non-functional user stories as well as technical team-generated stories.

Branching

Branching is the duplication of objects under revision control (such as a source code file, or a directory tree) in such a way that the newly created objects initially have the same content as the original, but can evolve independently of the original. Branching can take two forms, static or dynamic. In static branches, copy and label operations are used to duplicate a given branch. The duplicate then can evolve independently. With dynamic branches, usually implemented in streams, only the label operation is used, to flag the point in time that a stream diverged from its parent stream. Both branching forms support some form of merging, so that code changes made on a branch can be re-integrated into another branch, as is typical in parallel development processes.

Burndown Chart

Representation of the number of hours remaining for completion of a project; usually represented in chart form with points plotted on an x and y axis that map a downward trend of work left to do until burning down to zero.

Burnup Chart

Representation of the number of stories completed; usually represented in chart form with points plotted on an x and y axis that map an upward trend of work completed until reaching 100%.

Change and Configuration Management

Change and Configuration Management (also known as Software Change and Configuration Management or SCCM) combines aspects of both change management and configuration management to control a software development project as it evolves through the software development process. SCCM typically includes all technical aspects of the development process, such as version control, branching and merging.
Additionally, SCCM includes change related activities such as issue tracking, document tracking, and process workflows that enable development teams to control the overall process.

Change Control

Process in which changes to a product or system are introduced in a controlled manner with minimal disruptions to services and cost effective solutions involved in implementing the changes.

Change Management

Change Management enables development organizations to control, communicate and respond more effectively to rapidly changing business demands.

Change Packages

Change Packages enable developers and managers to group file changes together into a logical whole and enable release managers to work at the issue or task level, while still providing developers with full access to the underlying file contents of the Change Package. Once created, a Change Package allows users to move, copy, modify, merge or revert the change package.

Collocation

Collocation refers to development teams located and working in the same location. Collocation is usually applied at the cross-functional team level.

Configuration Management

Configuration Management refers to a set of practices around storing, tracking and releasing versions of a software product. Software products that enable development organizations to perform these practices efficiently are also referred to as Configuration Management systems or Configuration Management tools. Configuration Management systems will typically provide users with a variety of features, including but not limited to source code control, issue tracking, and change set management.

Configuration Management Tools

Configuration Management tools are the tools that make possible the practices around storing, tracking and releasing versions of software.

Continuous Integration

Continuous integration, one of the foundational aspects of Agile software development methodologies, is defined by Martin Fowler to be “a fully automated and reproducible build, including testing, that runs many times a day. This allows each developer to integrate daily, thus reducing integration problems.” By getting changes into the main line as frequently as possible, preferably daily, and by extending the idea of a nightly build, continuous integration helps reduce integrations problems and identify and resolve problems more quickly.

Cross-Functional Team

Team comprised of members with all functional skills and specialties necessary to complete a project from start to finish.

Distributed Development

Development teams that work on the same project but are located across multiple locations or worksites.

Enterprise Agile

The adoption of specific Agile practices in an organization that works in conjunction with other non-Agile practices. Enterprise Agile is a highly efficient and customized practice for large organizations that have difficulty making a complete transition to Agile, as well as for organizations that already practice efficient development processes.

Epic

A user story which describes a large amount of customer value and needs to be broken down into many smaller user stories.

Feature Driven Development

Feature Driven Development (FDD) is an Agile method for developing software based on an iterative and incremental software development process. The main purpose of FDD is to deliver tangible, working software repeatedly in a timely manner.

Hybrid Processes

Development process that uses both Agile and non-Agile practices in conjunction with each other and is proven highly effective for development teams

Inspecting and Adapting

Agile process where teams evaluate a project by looking, listening to each other’s feedback and ultimately improving the process or changing course.

Iteration

Microcosm of a traditional Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC,) each of which produces working software. Iterations can be as large as 3 months but are more typically between 1 to 4 weeks. See sprint.

Kanban

Methodology that comes from Lean software development and has three main components: visual system for managing work, limits work in progress, and work is pulled rather than pushed through the system.

Key Agile Principles

See Agile Manifesto.

Lean Software Development

A programming concept that focuses on optimizing efficiencies for development and minimizing waste. According to Mary Poppendieck, 10 rules of Lean programming include: eliminate waste, minimize artifacts, satisfy all stakeholders, deliver as fast as possible, decide as late as possible, decide as low as possible, deploy comprehensive testing, learn by experimentation, measure business impact and optimize across organizations.

Merging

The process of incorporating branches back into the mainline.

Multi-stage Continuous Integration

Agile method allowing for a high degree of integration to occur in parallel while vastly reducing the scope of integration problems. Multi-stage Continuous Integration (CI) is an expansion upon Continuous Integration, where each developer works on his or her own task. As changes are made, CI is done against that team’s branch. If CI does not succeed, then that developer (possibly with help from her teammates) fixes the branch. This way when there is a problem, only that team, not the whole development effort is affected.

One Piece Flow

Process in which each developer or development process works on only one piece at a time before pulling code downstream, one piece at a time, to the next process.

Pair Programming

Process in which two developers work together at a single workstation, where one is responsible for typing code and the other for reviewing each line of code as it is typed in.

Parallel Development

Parallel development occurs whenever a software development project requires separate development efforts on related code bases. For example, when a software product is shipped to customers, a product development team may begin working on a new major feature release of the product, while a product maintenance team may work on defect corrections and customer patch releases of the shipped product. Both teams begin work from the same code base, but the code necessarily diverges. Frequently the code bases used in parallel development efforts must be merged at some future date, for example, to ensure that the defect corrections provided by the product maintenance team are integrated into the major release that the product development team is working on.

Planning Poker

A consensus-based technique for estimating; mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of tasks in software development.  Planning Poker is useful for building team cohesion and for fostering self-organizing teams.

Product Backlog

The backlog owned by the Product Owner.

Product Owner

A role originating from Scrum, but has now been widely adopted independently of Scrum. A product owner manages the product backlog, addresses questions that arise during development and signs off on work results. The product owner guides the team with what should be done and when the final product should be shipped. The Scrum team then balances out the product owner’s decisions by deciding how much work should be involved in an individual sprint and estimating the amount of time necessary to complete the task.

Real World Agile

The adoption of specific Agile practices in an organization that works in conjunction with other non-Agile practices. Real World Agile is a highly efficient and customized practice for large organizations that have difficulty make a complete transition to Agile as well as for organizations that already practice efficient development processes.

Refactoring

The practice of continuously improving the usability, maintainability, and adaptability of code without changing its behavior. Refactoring makes it much easier to add new and unanticipated functionality. Refactoring has the disadvantage that it takes extra effort and requires changing the code. 

Release Management

Release management comprises a broad set of activities in software development organizations that center on ensuring that software is ready to be released to customers.

Release Plan

A document describing scheduling, activities, resources and responsibilities related to a particular release.

Release Process

The software release process is the final stage in a typical software development effort, where the software product is made available for use. To ready a software product for release, the release process must ensure that all product requirements have been met, usually by executing test suites designed to exercise product functionality and correcting any defects found.

SCM Software

Software Configuration Management software is a software tool that enable organizations to perform the SCM practices of storing, tracking and releasing a product, and typically provide users with a variety of features including source code control, issue tracking and change set management, advanced configuration management, change packages, process management and integrated issue tracking.

SCM Tools

Software Configuration Management tools are tools that enable organizations to perform SCM practices and typically provide users with a variety of features, including source code control, issue tracking and change set management, advanced configuration management, change packages, process management and integrated issue tracking.

Scrum

Agile development project management framework based around sprints and is generally comprised of a Scrum Team, Product Owner and Scrum Master. The framework of Scrum leaves most development decisions up to the self-organizing Scrum team, where decisions are reached as a whole team.

Scrum Master

Person trained to facilitate daily Scrum meetings, remove impediments, oversee the team’s progress through the process and track Scrum team updates.

Self Organizing

A team, usually found in Scrum, that manages itself through various means of communication and reoccurring structured meetings. Self organizing teams solve development issues together as a whole and decide the best solution depending on the various team members.

Software Change and Configuration Management (SCCM)

Software change and configuration management (SCCM – mainframe and distributed) tools implement a set of disciplines used to stabilize, track and control the versions and configurations of a set of software items and also may include development change management, defect tracking, change automation, development release management, integrated test management, integrated build management and other related processes. - Gartner Research

Software Configuration Management (SCM)

Software Configuration Management (SCM) refers to a set of practices around storing, tracking and releasing versions of a software product. Software products that enable development organizations to perform these practices efficiently are also referred to as Software Configuration Management systems or Software Configuration Management tools. Software Configuration Management systems will typically provide users with a variety of features, including but not limited to: source code control, issue tracking and change set management.

Software Development

Development of software in a planned and structured process. See software development process.

Software Development Process

The software development process is the set of coordinated activities performed by engineers, managers and technical writers resulting in the creation of a software product. Various named software development processes are in use today, including Agile, XP, Scrum, Waterfall and Lean.

Source Code Control

Source code control is a common requirement in all modern software development projects that provides mechanisms for checking source code in and out of a central repository. This allows different developers to work on the same project, with reduced fears of lost code or overwritten changes. Source code control also implies a version control system that can manage files through the development lifecycle, keeping track of which changes were made, who made them, when they were made, and why. Finally, source code control also frequently involves the ability to group versioned files as a single release, maintain multiple active releases concurrently (branching), and join different releases (merging).

Source Code Management

Source code management refers broadly to the set of operations required to store, retrieve and version the files used to construct software applications. Development teams rely on source code management to organize the source code files for different releases of software, so that releases can be uniquely identified for testing, packaging and delivery to customers. Failure to do this properly results in poor quality releases and inefficient use of development resources.

Spike

Timeboxed investigation of feasibility via a bare bones implementation, which touches on all aspects of the full implementation.

Sprint

Scrum specific word describing iterations.

Sprint Backlog

Plan for development team to map out implementation of features for an upcoming sprint.

Sprint Planning

A meeting for Scrum Teams, Scrum Masters and Product Owners where the Product Owner describes priority features to the team. The Scrum Team gets enough of an understanding about the tasks discussed that they are able to choose which ones to move from the product backlog to the sprint backlog.

Retrospective

Meeting held at the end of every sprint review to reflect on what went well during the sprint and what can be improved upon during the next sprint. Sprint retrospectives are valued as necessary parts of inspecting and adapting, and allow development teams to plan for future output.

Sprint Review

In the sprint review, teams go over what stories were completed during the iteration and demonstrate those stories for stakeholders and the product owner.

Stand-up

Daily Meetings that are meant to quickly and efficiently resolve obstacles that any team members may be experiencing.

Story Points

Relative scale of effort required by a team to implement a user story.

Task Board

A physical or electronic board representing the state of tasks in a current sprint, often divided into “to do,” “in progress” and “done.”

Timeboxing

The practice of constraining the amount of time for performing any activity. Examples include iterations, spikes and stand up meetings.

Unit Testing

Tests that exercise small amounts of isolated functionality.

User Stories

Used with Agile methodologies for specifying requirements and presented as an informal statement of the requirement (usually fitting on a 3x5 index card).

Velocity

The velocity of a team is the number of story points associated with stories that are finished over a given period of time, often 1 to 4 weeks. For instance, if the team completed 8 stories that were each 5 points during a four week period, then their velocity is 40 story points every four weeks.

Waterfall

Model of a software development process in which progress flows downwards through phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing and maintenance.

Whole Teams

Team comprised of members with different functional skills and specialties that work together during all phases of development in order to complete a project from start to finish. Also known as a cross-functional team.

XP

"Extreme Programming," one implementation of the Agile methodology that focuses on producing the simplest coding situation for application requirements and includes practices such as pair programming, incremental design and continuous integration.

How far ahead *should* we plan?! | The Case for Project Management ^LeadingAgile

The Case for Project Management

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 October 2011 01:21 Written by Mike Cottmeyer Saturday, 15 October 2011 01:21

How far ahead should we plan? I depends on what you are building, when you need to have it done… and if you aren’t going to get done… how soon do you need to know about it. If your goal is to build the highest value features possible, deliver continuously to market, get real time feedback… you might be able to get away with planning a sprint or two out… maybe less. If your goal is to deliver a specific set of predefined features, all of which need to be done by the end of the quarter, you may want to have all three months laid out. It’s not that we wouldn’t inspect and adapt and deal with reality, it’s just that we need to know if our velocity isn’t trending such that everything is going to get done. If we don’t know how we are doing against done, we don’t know what tradeoffs we need to make along the way.

I’ve worked with several clients recently that were trying to operate as if the software they were building was emergent. It wasn’t. They were being asked to deliver a specific outcome, with a pre-defined set of time and cost constraints. For these guys, it was absolutely silly to only plan their backlog two weeks at a pop. They had no idea how they were doing against the expectations of the business. They had no idea if they were on track or not or how they should approach the business to negotiate scope trade-offs. They had no means to determine if their approach was trending toward and acceptable outcome. The reality was that they were going to work really hard, probably deliver a great working product, and still have their stakeholders upset with them.

Having a plan doesn’t mean that we have to have a death march. Having a plan means that we have a baseline to measure against. Some way to determine if we are making the progress necessary to achieve our goals. Remember that line in the Agile Manifesto? We value responding to change over following a plan?  While we value the items on the right, we value the items on the left more? The plan isn’t the problem… it’s failure to respond to change… to deal with reality that is the problem. If I have a fixed time, fixed cost, fixed scope project… I damn well better be delivering incrementally using an agile approach… it’s the only way of knowing if I’ve got a shot in hell of being successful. It’s the only way we can confidently let our stakeholders know if we are on track or not.

Not every team needs a project manager… but I think many could benefit from some really good project management. I’ve been an agile project management guy from the beginning, but I am becoming increasingly convinced that we need to be teaching teams, not just how to self-organize, but how to effectively manage delivery… product or project delivery, I don’t care which. Self organized teams need to have everything necessary to deliver an increment of value… it’s my opinion that everything necessary to deliver an increment of working product includes someone that knows how to manage risk, validate assumptions, communicate with stakeholders, assess progress against the goal, and know when things are off track. That can be the PO, the ScrumMaster, or someone else on the team… again, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that project management is happening… no matter who does it.

Make each day count twice (alt title: Think big, kick ass)

"Make each day count twice" - Bill Rancic, winner of the 1st season of The Apprentice and author of You’re Hired: How to Succeed in Business and Life.

In startup life there’s this saying that startup years are twice as long as regular years. The explanation, in most cases, has to do with longer hours. Although the thrill of being in a startup means learning new things at an unimaginable rate, the price means missing out on the comfort of a traditional 9-5!

In You’re Hired, Bill Rancic gives entrepreneurial advice and covers an interesting concept with creating “psychological edge” from essentially working two shifts in one day. 

  • The first shift last from 7am-noon.
  • The second shift is noon-7pm.

*Lunch is ordered in and probably spent multi-tasking.

We’ve all heard about “the early bird catching the worm.” But what about Rancic’s “making each day count twice?” It might be what’s holding you back from that million-dollar breakthrough! ;) As you can see from the following photo of Donald Trump, it’s the kind of commitment required for entrepreneurs who mean business.

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What do you think, worth a shot?

Photo credit: Ari Moore

Deadlines? What deadlines? We’re developers! ;) Interview with @csuwldcat of @mozlabs

Producteev is way better than RTM! 

Pretty much ;) One year ago, that’s what they said!

Daniel-headshot

 

Like his t-shirt gives away, Daniel Buchner is a developer with heart! He currently works at Mozilla as a product manager, is married, has a pet dog, and goes mountain biking for fun. 

Daniel manages his entire workflow on Producteev, which at the moment includes the supervision of three engineers. He also takes advantage of our multiple workspaces feature and is hacking away on a fancy side project. Shhh, it’s in stealth mode! 

As a devoted product manager, he admits to occasionally being behind on deadlines. His advice for staying on track, in spite of minor setbacks?

When a task is late, don’t just ignore it. Change the deadline, and write the reason(s) why in the notes. 

Good call, Dan! He adds:

Producteev really has the right set of features for developers! It’s way better than RTM, in my opinion. Especially how it’s organized. The UI, sidebar, filter….are all great details! There’s a decent set of standard features. 

Daniel, like many of you, is a Google and Android fanboy. Here at HQ, we’re working on building even better Google integrations, as well as finishing that native Android app! The latter of which includes deadline modification notations. :)

Stay tuned for another exciting product manager story, with our very own Stephane!

Food for Thought: Why You Should Question Your Culture ^Harvard Business Review

Organizational culture powerfully influences a company’s performance — or at least we say so. I often hear executives reassure me that projects will get done because “we have an execution culture,” or that customers will be well taken care of because “we have a culture where the customer comes first.” At the same time, culture is also one of the great rationalizations for managerial shortcomings. Many times I’ve heard that a project was delayed because “we don’t make quick decisions around here,” which is the managerial equivalent of “the dog ate my homework.”

But the problem with all of these statements — both positive and negative — is that they don’t really mean anything. Worse yet, they can’t be translated into any kind of action. At best these declarations are vague generalizations; and at worst they are misleading stereotypes.

The truth is that most leaders don’t know how to develop a useful picture of their organization’s culture, which is why they resort to platitudes. However when managers can better articulate the behavioral patterns that constitute the culture, they can determine which behaviors facilitate results — and which behaviors should be avoided.

For example, a large automotive parts company had just completed a merger, and the senior team — made up of leaders from both firms — struggled with making decisions. They either took too long to decide, or the decisions just didn’t stick. To fix this problem, the team asked themselves some simple questions about the decision-making culture: To what extent are decisions currently made by consensus or by the CEO (on a scale of 1-10)? On that same scale, how were decisions made at your heritage company? And on the same scale, where should the decision-making process be in the new company?

Each person on the team answered these questions separately, and a facilitator consolidated them as the basis for a group discussion. When looking at the answers, the team quickly realized that the previous companies had very different decision-making cultures (one was a slow process of building consensus, and the other used open, time-bound debate with final decisions made by the CEO). The team members also had very different expectations for how the process should work. By making these differences concrete and conscious, they were able to have a constructive dialogue that led to ground rules for decision-making.

Any management team can assess its culture by asking these kinds of simple questions across a range of organizational behaviors. For example: To what extent do we reward individual vs. team results? To what extent do we share information broadly or parcel it out narrowly? To what extent do we encourage or discourage risk?

Asking these kinds of questions can smoke out the differences in expectations that people have about the organization. Not everyone experiences culture the same way, so a structured way to discuss those differences can increase alignment and the ability to take collective action. In practical terms, culture is not an intangible cloud that hangs over a company, but an outcome of the way people behave on multiple dimensions. Better understanding of these behavioral patterns — and how each person experiences them — makes it possible to decide whether to continue them or not.


To what extent do you question your organization’s culture?

Student/User Profile: @MattMurphyMSWym: Inspirational Blogging Jokester

Matt Murphy was always one of our strong advocates, so we decided to interview him, to learn more of how he used and continues to use our services. Matt is an inspirational youth worker by day, and a super blogger/jokester by night! But ah- that didn’t stop him from obtaining his MSW from Adelphi University and a M.Div. from Denver Seminary.

How did Matt do all this?!? Haha, of course with Producteev!

Mattmurphy

Pre-Producteev

Before using Producteev, Matt used a combination good old-fashioned pen and paper, and iCal- which worked quite well for him with small projects. As the responsibilities starting piling on, he came to realize that he needed something that would help him organize and make timelines. 

Prior to joining, there were several incidents that took place, which led Matt to realize that he needed to spice things up with his task management. He wrote us, “Once I didn’t realize, but the system had an error and asked me where do I want to sync my tasks and calendar from. I clicked the wrong button and poof!  Right before the busiest time of the season I lost all of my tasks (assignments) that were due in all of my classes then and there. Missed the due date on one assignment, scrambled and had to spend all that time re-entering all my data again.”

Syncing data across platforms and new computers proved to be challenging as time went on, and Matt decided to look for Productivity software on his iPhone. One of his buddies heard of this, and was quick to enthusiastically suggest Producteev. Matt has been hooked since then.

The Awakening

Matt was quick to learn how to maneuver Producteev, and is a fan of each update that is rolled out which is “making it better, not more complicated.” He also appreciated the fact that he could create a workspace for each aspect of his life, “It gives me the ability to see them all or just focus on one task. Additionally, being able to tag and prioritize tasks helped me either do a particular urgency of a task first or find the one that I needed to get done.”
He soon noticed a difference in his execution of tasks, especially those outside of school. He loved that he could set guidelines and timetables to assist him with completion. Matt found that he was able to multitask better across jobs and classes in his seminary. When it came to schoolwork, Matt would “organize using the tags to group by class and then look at everything by date. By noting which ones were bigger (by giving them a higher priority) I knew if I needed to focus on a task later in the calendar first, rather than a task in the immediate future.” As less tasks were falling through the cracks, Matts level of confidence was increasing.

Happy Ending

Matt continues to use Producteev with great success, and recommended it to several people. He even blogged about his love for it! Matt clearly made great use out of what Producteev has to offer through many phases of his life, and it helped shape him to become the inspiration that he is today. That’s right Matt- you keep on #winning!

Productivity Blocker: Family Obligations

You can’t choose your family, but you can choose how you manage their needs when they interfere with your other tasks.
Whether you’re a student, freelancer, or even a homemaker- there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to satisfy the needs of your family, in addition to your professional needs and goals.

Productivityblocker2
The demands of family have a way of robbing you from time, thought, and energy that could have been placed towards a greater good that would ultimately benefit them. 

Scenario 1: Student and Worker
You’re a student with a job, and you’re living near or with your family. Course load is just as heavy as your workload. But you also have relatives that depend on you for tasks such as pickups/dropoffs, and accompaniment to appointments. As much as you enjoy giving them comfort with your assistance, you feel a mental strain by the end of the day, and you realize that no one could help you with your tasks as you did with theirs. How will you manage?

Solution: Schedule them in as tasks
You can use your free Producteev for Education account to create separate workspaces for school, work, and family. As you add family-related tasks, check on the overview to ensure that there isn’t going to be any overlapping. You should also make sure that you will have at least a few minutes in between tasks for transitioning purposes, because you wouldn’t want to lash out at anyone from being overwhelmed.

Scenario 2: Freelancer
You’re a freelancer juggling several clients. Each client is a drama case of their own. Some overwork and underpay you. Others demand you to work efficiently, but take their sweet time paying you for your services. And then there are those that leave you wondering just how long the assignment might really last. Aside from the tension of your mixed bag of assignments, your family needs you for financial assistance. You don’t want to say ‘no’ to them, but you also don’t know just how much you should stretch each dollar for yourself. Then they figure that since you don’t have a ‘real job,’ you will be able to help them with mundane tasks. What the heck?! How will you manage?

Solution: Schedule them in as tasks
Create a workspace that is a combination of family-related tasks, and family-related finances. You can set reminders for next month about your cousin Joey borrowing $500 from you, saying he will pay you back by then. You can also plot in having to help little Sarah with her science project, but consult the overview to make sure it doesn’t conflict with the designs and updated spreadsheets you promised the MegaClient.

Scenario 3: Homemaker
You’re a homemaker, and face it- you’re under-appreciated! A lot of the work you do goes unnoticed, because everyone in the household seems to take it all for granted. Only you truly know how time-consuming it is to complete each chore, especially with little to no help. In the middle of sorting through tasks, your family comes up to you, and asks you to make time for buying clothes and gifts for an occasion. Or maybe they want you to bake a lot of cookies for little Dannys class party. But who is going to help you with your tasks? No one. You have to do all this on your own. How will you manage?

Solution: Schedule them in as tasks
Once you plot in your daily tasks for ‘home,’ you will be able to see openings for ‘family misc.’ So let’s see… while the clothes are in the washer, you could bake the cookies for little Danny. By the time the cookies are done and cooling, you can place the clothes into the dryer, then go online and browse through stores to shop at for the upcoming occasion.  By the time the clothes are finished drying, the cookies have fully cooled, and you will know which stores to target. Fold the clothes, pack up the cookies, and head out! Hooray for multi-tasking smart with Producteev! 

How good are you at balancing family obligations with your professional tasks/goals?

 

Procrastination: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. #TaskChat Recap 9/27/11

The Twitter #TaskChat on procrastination this past Tuesday, Sept 27th was a raging success! The party was jamming well past the 1-hour mark! Everyone’s still talking about what a blast they had while exchanging humorous tid-bits on instances they procrastinated, and why they did so.
Here are all the questions that were asked, followed by entertaining collections of groupings of answers:

1) Which aspect of your life do you procrastinate on most?
 
@LeslieAJoy: I’ll procrastinate work with household chores.
@ABurgerADay: So does my wife! 
@Bydahway: I procrastinate on putting away folded laundry.
I also am told regularly that i procrastinate on settin aside time for myself- one day i’ll get to it
@Aaronrcouch I just realized my laundry is still in the wash from this morning but I’m currently in a Skype call

@aaronrcouch: What’s the difference between “forgetting” and “procrastination”?
@LeslieAJoy: HAHAHAHAHA. Forgetting is well, forgetting. Procrastinating you remember, but put it off. 
And “accidentally-on-purpose forgetting” is a hybrid of the two.
@RealSecurity: Forgetting is just forgetting. Procrastination is putting things off.
2) Are your tasks too boring, or are you THAT sure of yourself that you will get them done when procrastinating?

@Bydahway: I’ve had experiences with both. But usually if its boring I just want to get it over and d one with.
@Tushark:  neither. I’m taking a big risk by procrastinating. If it’s not imp, it isn’t worth procrastinating!
@Cygnoir: I am overconfident, sadly.
@RebeccaH83: I procrastinate at anything data-entry based…but only if I KNOW it can wait. 
@LeslieAJoy: Neither. I’m just really easily distracted. My procrastionation tends not to be intentional.
@FarhanaRahman: How long on average would you say you tend to lapse away from tasks?
@LeslieAJoy: Anywhere b/t 15 minutes & 2 days. I’ve worked at keeping it down to a 30 minute avg though.
@ABurgerADay: The problem for me is that the tasks aren’t TV/movies or video games.

3) How often would you say procrastination benefited you? How exactly? 
@FarhanaRahman: It ised to help me out in college, because I ended up putting more effory into my work to cover procrastination.
@Bydahway: I used to for school projects and they usually ended up kickA$$ cuz i’d really throw myself into it 
@RebeccaH83: I never procrastinated on college course work. I was the one that had the paper written a week early.
@RebeccaH83: Hey! That’s just how I roll when it comes to papers/writing/ projects. I live to problem solve. 
@Bydahway: Procrastinated on ordering clothes online for my family & ended up w/ a 30% off discount code for the order!!!

@SilverSteelWolf: I wouldn’t call intentionally putting things off procrastination. 
@FarhanaRahman: Well what would you call it? 
@SilverSteelWolf: Postponing something?
@AskMarkHamilton: It made me realize that if you push things off long enough, they eventually become irrelevant enough to not do them
@SilverSteelWolf: Yes, that’s true. And it has burned me in the past, unfortunately.
@AskMarkHamilton: More importantly, it made me figure out what I could cut from my to-do list, and what made me suffer when I skipped it.
@LeslieAJoy: Same here!
@SilverSteelWolf: Ahh, that’s a good point. The stress of having things hovering over my head is something I always struggle with.

@AaronRCouch: a computer class I took bored me. I spent class time doing more advanced things then did all the work the last day it was due. 
@FarhanaRahman: How did that turn out?
@AaronRCouch: Aced the class!

4) Give an example of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ procrastination.

@SilverSteelWolf: Good: Intentionally moving a noncritical deadline to clear up time and mental energy for more important tasks.
@FarhanaRahman: Good: When you end up putting in more effort, no harm done. Bad- When it harms workload/colleagues/deadlines
@AskMarkHamilton: Bad- Anything that will cause disruption the next morning has to be done the night before. I have a routine! Good- Putting off stuff I know needs to get done to spend time with family :)
@Bydahway:  i agree-if its not critical & I’ll still have time til the deadline to get it done than family first 
@Cygnoir: I suppose ‘good’ procrastination can occur when you need more input to do something properly, vs. just doing it.
'Bad' procrastination occurs when you delay completion of tasks simply because they are tedious or discomforting
@LeslieAJoy: Good: Using procrastionation to ram through to-do list since you don’t want to do something on it. Bad: Fake breaks
@FarhanaRahman: I took countless fake breaks in college.

5)How are you (trying) to procrastinate less? 

@Cygnoir: Phone calls. I hate playing phone-tag! If I could handle everything via email, I would get so much more done.
@AaronRCouch: ditto. Email is way better IF its used correctly on both ends. But I do prefer phone for just talking 2 ppl Im close to.
@RebeccaH83: Oh, I completely agree! Email is the way to go 
@LeslieAJoy: I used to hate phone calls till I started working home. Now sometimes that’s the only voice I hear day
@AskMarkHamilton: there’s no single trick that works consistently every time to get myself to do things. mood changes from day to day, and sometimes you just don’t feel like doing stuff.@SilverSteelWolf: That’s the hardest thing to defeat. “Just not feeling like doing stuff.” 
@AskMarkHamilton:  it’s not always the hard to do tasks, but hard to start tasks as well. 

@RebeccaH83: I have to make lists. I start out every day with a list of what I need to work on.
@ABurgerADay: The best solution I can come up with, is to shun all technology and turn off the twitter. 
@SilverSteelWolf: That’s why I have @producteev!