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Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life Paperback – October 6, 2010
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- Item Weight : 12.9 ounces
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0984548203
- ISBN-13 : 978-0984548200
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.57 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Innovation Playhouse (October 6, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #413,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What’s so significant here, is that it’s about the interlocking and compounding systems that are composed of habits you create at different scales.
This is something that is missing in just about every other method I’ve encountered, including GTD. It’s not to knock gtd or other systems, it’s just to acknowledge that the practices in Agile Results are really about lifestyle changes across different scales, where as GTD and similar approaches, tend to be a bit more about complicated rules and practices that are about organizing lists and inboxes etc. Your an clearly do that kind of thing within the Agile Results framework, but its not the point of Agile Results in and of itself.
The essence of Agile Results, if I had to boil it down, is basically that you need to be able to have habits that you can continually rely on, to adjust and process what’s important, across the many areas and timescales of life. The reason that Agile Results is very unique in my opinion, is that its about creating a lifestyle where you have a “rhythm” of adjusting and creating results across difference scales.
I highly recommend it to anyone, not just those interested in productivity.
An earlier reviewer talked about the book being repetitive and that's absolutely correct. Even more, there's really not a book here. I'd say about 10% of the book is VERY valuable and the other 90% is Productivity 101 that anyone who has been working on personal productivity will already know.
I very much enjoyed the core of the Agile Results process, focusing on outcomes and then a weekly review and reset, taking lessons learned to apply to future time periods so that you build in a feedback loop that helps you build a system and approach that becomes increasingly tailored to how YOU work over time. That's good stuff.
But after he gets done with those things, by about the third chapter, the rest is basically filler. And lists. Boy does this writer LOVE his lists. 10 things about this. 25 things about that. Over and over and over again. Such an unimaginative and lazy way to convey information.
I found a website where the author wrote a series of articles, 30 days to Agile Results, where every day you incorporate a new aspect of the process, and that is excellent, and a far better source of material than this book.
In summary, I highly recommend implementing the core concepts behind Agile Results. And there are much more efficient ways to learn those concepts than this book.
I've been putting the ideas into practice for a week now, and I managed to get my taxes - federal *and * state - in the mail on time for the first time in four years.
Just be sure to zoom on each of the many charts throughout the book. It took me a while to find that feature.
Let me take a step back - 'Agile' is a framework used for product development. The goal is to develop the product iteratively, incrementally, and in a time-boxed fashion. Work gets done in 2 week sprints with 'just enough' analysis, as opposed to attempting to plan everything out up-front.
What the JD Meier does in this book is present a simple way to translate this system into a personal workflow management technique.
Here are the very basics:
-At the beginning of your week (or 'sprint') plan out your key intended outcomes. You should try to bite off only what you can fit into your timeboxed sprint (in my case I like to plan 2 weeks at a time). As you do this more, you'll get better at estimating what you can bite off. Write these key intended outcomes / goals on a list.
-At the beginning of each day, pick a couple things to work on, that map directly to your weekly (or 'sprint' goals). These should come directly from what you mapped out already.
-At the end of the week (or sprint) evaluate how you performed. Ask yourself, what you can do to improve for next time.
The system is simple. The beauty of it is that as work comes in, you can store it in a 'backlog' and feed it into your system based on priority. The author also recommends to do a monthly and yearly review with higher level goals, and recommends categorizing tasks by different areas in life (i.e. family / relationships, work, recreation, etc).
This seems very simple, and it is in a sense, but it's also very powerful because most people don't actually have the attention span to work on a goal that they set out at the beginning of the week, and evaluate how they performed.
Sprinkled around this simple concept are a number of little gems of wisdom... I'll list a few:
-Intended Outcomes over Activities - focus on your intended goal. The fact that you put in X hours does not necessarily mean that you are any closer to your intended outcome, and does not mean that you accomplished anything. Your criteria for success should always relate to whether or not your achieved your intended outcome, and not the time or effort you put into an activity.
-Rule of 3 - For any yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily goal setting, stick to working on 3 things at a time, you lose focus after any more than just 3.
-'Good Enough' over Perfection - people will often obsess over achieving perfect results (I am guilty of this) and spend more time or resources than necessary on a problem. Focus on 'Good Enough' and 'Version' your results, meaning you can always come back and improve in a Version 2 or a Version 3 of the task at hand.
-Throwing more time at something is one of the *worst* things you can do.
-Fix time and flex scope - if you have an intended outcome, get 'good enough' done in the allotted time and move onto the next thing, instead of going for perfect. Over the long run this will force you to be more efficient.
-Block time around eating / sleeping / working out.
-Results over Productivity - A lot of systems focus on being 'productive' or always using your spare capacity to work on something. Actually you DON'T want to do this. It's ok to have an hour break between appointments or commitments, the goal is always to achieve RESULTS. If you block all of your time on so as to have no spare capacity, you are almost guaranteed to be working on a lot of low value items with no spare capacity, when in reality you need to be focused on fewer high value items that will really make a difference.
This book is great. My only light criticism, is that it is probably hard to put into practice or truly 'get' the system if you haven't worked on an agile team before. It's still worth reading and re-reading certain parts a few times. I'd recommended phasing the system in, in small steps, starting with just the basics first.
As companions to this book, I'd recommend Getting Things Done, Zen to Done, and The Pomodoro Technique which all do a good job complementing each other but cover slightly different things. Of all these books, this one and Getting Things Done are probably the most essential ones to read.
Top reviews from other countries
This book gives a very clear structure to follow to get yourself focused on doing what you need to do. It is based on the authors experience of what works and how to apply it in reality, and, crucially, he makes it so easy to get back on track if /when you, to mix metaphors, fall off the horse.
The way to implement the ideas are very flexible-no need to change everything at once. Probably the most useful productivity book I have ever read. I am on the third week of applying these simple ideas to my life, and I am feeling much more focussed and confident of getting the right stuff done.
The core methodology is introduced early and in bitesize chapters, there is also a lot of help in implementation in further chapters, and there are super ways suggested to maximise your effectiveness in trying to achieve your desired outcomes.