This Week in PCM: Creating a Retrospective

06262016 Retrospective

Read the original PM.Expert article here: http://www.pm.expert/index.php/2016/06/26/week-pm-creating-retrospective/

As companies approach the end of a month or quarterly, it is high time to review their progress for the past time period to see what has worked and what hasn’t. A retrospective is a great way to accomplish this. A retrospective is part of the scrum framework. Scrum is a framework that does incremental improvement in product development. Within scrum, there are sprints which is a timed iteration where the team (scrum) works on a specific process. At the end of each sprint, there is a retrospective. A retrospective is ‘ a meeting at which the team discusses the just-concluded sprint and determines what could be changed that might make the next sprint more productive.’  Usually a retrospectives happen at least once a month because that’s the longest duration of a sprint.

Using the retrospective framework will help you identify what has and hasn’t worked and where you can improve for the next month or quarter. Below are the 5-step structure of a retrospective. They are:

  • Setting the stage
  • Gathering the data
  • Generating insights
  • Deciding what to do
  • Closing the retrospective

Setting the stage

The goal for this step is to set the tone and direction for the retrospective. This is the blueprint/roadmap section where you write out the retrospective’s destination and the metrics. What is your definition of success? What is your definition of failure? Where can you improve? These three metrics are essential guideposts that build your retrospective.

Gathering the data

Now that you have established your guideposts, the next step is to highlight important information and events. This stage is where you summarize the important metrics that fit into these three categories: what you’ve done right; what you’ve done wrong and where you can improve.

Generating insights

Here you use your summarized data to produce results. These can be trend analyses showing data performance. If there are any outliers, these should be reported and investigated. Sometimes outliers can be one-off events or the start of a new trend that should be monitored during the next month or quarter.

Deciding what to do

Once you obtain the results, deciding a course of action is next. Regarding what you are good at, how can you improve upon these results? These current results create your baseline or performance standard. You need to use this quarter’s current result as a springboard to better things. Conversely, you want to know what you are not good to be dropped. These underperforming activities are sunk costs. No matter how much effort and money you have put into them, they haven’t generated the desired return on investment (ROI) so the team drops them. Dropping them allows the team to use all of their energies and resources towards becoming better and improving upon other activities in the next category.

Return on investment is indispensable when deciding where to allocate resources towards areas of improvement. The team should create a monthly or quarterly forecast projecting the anticipated ROI for each area. The team should monitor their performances revisiting these areas during the next retrospective. During the next retrospective, the team can decide whether or not to add them to the what you are good at category or ditch it completely.

Closing the retrospective

Once a decision has been rendered, the team has the decisions and will use them as inputs into creating a better sprint. Closing is part of the continuous feedback loop. View closing as the output for the current sprint and the input for the future sprint.

Continuous improvement of teams, outputs and business processes is the ultimate goal of this 5-step retrospective structure. These five steps and their explanations will help you plan, execute, review and close your retrospective.

Source: https://www.red-gate.com/blog/building/five-steps-effective-sprint-retrospective

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This Week in PCM : 5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness at Work

06182016 Be Mindful

Mindfulness seems to be the new buzzword today. Everyone discusses it but few people actually know what mindfulness really is. Here is a definition. Mindfulness is a ‘mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.’ Awareness is the cornerstone of mindfulness. Are you aware of your surroundings? Are you aware of the attitude you bring the office? Here are my 5 ways to practice mindfulness at work.

  1. Take time to be conscious

 

Yes, work is a routine. Oftentimes, you may do the same thing, but, remember that there’s a difference between Monday versus Tuesday versus Wednesday et cetera. Take time to take in a new day. View this mindfulness activity as a restart button. Being conscious that this particular day is different from yesterday helps you get off on the right path.

 

  1. Be mindful of eating breakfast

 

Most people want to skip breakfast and go straight to work but doing this has dire mental and dietary health consequences. From a mindfulness perspective, skipping breakfast means bypassing a daily time to process your thoughts. Breakfast can serve as an opportunity to be mindful and reflect on how you’re feeling before work starts. This meal serves as a buffer providing with you a chance to be still before the workday gets started.

 

  1. Use mindfulness to respond versus react

 

Things happen in the workplace. People get sick on presentation day. You get placed on a project without any knowledge on how to contribute. Life happens. Instead of automatically reacting, take time to process what’s happening and your feelings about it. This mindfulness activity lets you remove the raw feelings and knee-jerk reactions. Furthermore, this gives you the chance to be mindful of the long-term consequences from a short-term reaction.

 

  1. Apply mindfulness during your breaks

 

This is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Breaks give you a chance to recalibrate your thinking which you’ll need throughout the day. You can take 15 minutes to shift your thinking and use unorthodox problem-solving approaches. Some of my best breakthroughs have come during my morning and afternoon breaks.

 

  1. Practice mindfulness at the end of the work day

 

Has the day ended the way you wanted? If not, use your evening commute to apply mindfulness. Rewind the day and see where you could have responded better. Look for areas of improvement. Do you need to pack a healthier lunch? Does your workbag need more organization? If so, use this commute time to reclaim the rest of your day. In addition, you can still apply mindfulness at dinner, with your family and before bed. This evening gives you with the chance to think about a more meaningful future; because tomorrow is the future.

 

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PositivityChange Community Inaugural Newsletter

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Welcome to the inaugural PositivityChange community newsletter. PositivityChange’s motto is to help you manifest and manage positive change in your personal and professional lives.

Monitoring Your Plan

When the original plan is not working, people automatically ditch it and go to Plan B. That would be premature because you do not have any measurements to evaluate performance. It is essential to know what is wrong with your original plan and how you can fix it before going onto plan B. You need to have some metrics that will let you know when your original plan is not working.

http://positivitychange.com/2016/06/week-pcm-monitoring-plan/

Upcoming

  1. Positive Change Radio – Owning Your Own Platform
  2. PositivityChange Google Hangout webinar

Positive Change Radio – Owning Your Own Platform

Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 6pm EST, hostess Carla R Jenkins will broadcast an all-new episode of Positive Change Radio. She will discuss this week’s news of Microsoft buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion and the importance of owning your own platform. You can click the link below to listen live:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/missphenomena/2016/06/16/the-importance-of-owning-your-own-platform

PositivityChange Google Hangout webinar

PositivityChange will hosts its inaugural Google Hangout webinar. The topic will be the importance of continuing positive change during the summer months. Furthermore, I will discuss some additional positive change tips that you can implement to manifest personal and professional change in your life. The private webinar will be held Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at 8pm EST. Click the link below to join:

https://carlarjenkins.leadpages.co/positivitychange-webinar

Buy my book, Expand Your Personal Brand:

You can buy my newest book, Expand Your Personal Brand, here:

http://expandyourpersonalbrand.com/shop/ . It is available in ebook, paperback and hardcover. Expand Your Personal Brand provides 20 top business lessons to help professionals achieve branding success.

 

This Week in PCM : Monitoring Your Plan

06022016 Monitoring Your Plan

When the original plan is not working, people automatically ditch it and go to Plan B. That would be premature because you do not have any measurements to evaluate performance. It is essential to know what is wrong with your original plan and how you can fix it before going onto plan B. You need to have some metrics that will let you know when your original plan is not working. This article will help you develop the metrics necessary to measure performance. Below is an example:

Example: You are in charge of an air conditioning system. The machine is supposed to stay at 65 degrees. If it registers 67 degrees or higher seven times, then pull it from operations and fix it. If after reinstalling the machine, it still malfunctions then you pull it and go with another air conditioning machine. This second machine is your plan B.

Here are my steps for monitoring your plan before going to Plan B:

What is your metric?

You cannot properly diagnosis a problem without knowing what specifically is wrong. Having a metric sets the baseline for monitoring performance.

What is the number or percentage that would force a review?

You have to have a threshold to measure against. For those who do not know, the definition of a threshold is ‘the point at which something begins or changes.’ Your threshold is the margin or spread where certain deviations are acceptable. When the plan operates outside of this threshold, then there is cause for concern.

What situation would happen for you to go with plan B?

In essence, what is the tipping point? What is the exact point where you ditch your monitoring plan and delve into plan B. Your tipping points are outside your threshold. List this point because you need to know when to transition. If you don’t list the tipping point’s criteria, then you won’t transition in time.

Hopefully these three things will guide you towards better decision-making in developing a monitoring plan and knowing when to move to Plan B.

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Positive Change Radio : Why Vacations Are Good For You

Blogtalkradio

 

Read the original post here: http://carlarjenkins.com/positive-change-radio-vacations-good/

Today, hostess Carla Jenkins will broadcast an all-new Positive Change Radio episode. She will be discussing the benefits of taking a break. This is summer and most people are taking off which is great. You and your body need a vacation from work because running yourself into the ground does not generate positive change.

Click here to listen live: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/missphenomena/2016/06/02/why-vacations-are-good-for-you

We are offering a free personal branding course. Sign up for it here:

http://positivitychange.com/course

 

Phenomena LLC Is Offering a Free Personal Branding Course to Help Busy Professionals

01242016 You are the brand!

Read the original press release here: http://bit.ly/1swiYAy

Carla R Jenkins, CEO of Phenomena LLC, is offering a free personal branding email course. Boost Your Brand with 5 Personal Branding Tips is an email course giving the professional 1 personal branding tip every day for 5 days. In addition, each lesson comes with a corresponding exercise after every lesson. Ms. Jenkins remarks that ‘it is essential to make this course as interactive as my book, Expand Your Personal Brand’. Expand Your Personal Brand contains 20 chapters with 20 corresponding exercises. Boost Your Brand email course accomplishes the same thing on a smaller scale. ‘In today’s globally competitive environment, it is indispensable for every professional to have his own personal brand.’ You can sign up for this course here: http://positivitychange.com/course

Carla R. Jenkins

Carla R Jenkins is a phenomenal expert specializing in positive change management. As the CEO of Phenomena Management Consulting, Carla Jenkins is a business visionary and trailblazer who coaches and leads organizations and individuals in addressing their business, economics, branding and project management needs. Furthermore, in 10 years’ work experience, Ms. Jenkins has received 4 promotions in 10 years. She is also the chief blogger for PositivityChange.com, a positive change management blog, and PM.Expert a project management blog.

Carla Jenkins has been rated #12 out of the top 21 change management experts on Twitter by Change Blog. Ms. Jenkins is ranked along with such luminaries like Mike Lehr, Andre Harrell and John P. Kotter. Here is the link:http://change.walkme.com/21-change-management-influencers-you-absolutely-need-to-follow-on-twitter/

Visit Carla R Jenkins at her website: http://carlarjenkins.com/

Buy Expand Your Personal Brand on either Amazon or http://expandyourpersonalbrand.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EXTELEE

 

When Change Isn’t Welcomed

05292016 When Change Isn't Welcomed

 

I know that I have been on hiatus (due to my promoting my book, Expand Your Personal Brand. You can buy it here:  http://expandyourpersonalbrand.com/ ). However, I have returned with more change-related articles.

Twitter has decided to not count photos and links as characters; yet, its stock price still lags. Insiders say that Twitter’s current changes don’t go far enough for it compete with rival, Facebook. Facebook has rolled out Facebook Live as a response to Twitter’s acquisition of livestreaming app, Periscope. http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/05/24/twitter-incs-140-character-count-change-fails-to-i.aspx

Many look at the information technology as the quintessential definition of change; however, even IT faces problems with its industry changes. Here Tech Target writes on how three IT executives handle change: http://searchcio.techtarget.com/news/450296768/How-three-digital-leaders-overcame-resistance-to-change

Visit PositivityChange to manifest positive change in your personal and professional lives.

This Week in PCM : Position Yourself as an Expert

05082016 Position Yourself as an Expert

Many professionals fear May because it is college commencement month. There is a slew of newly minted degreed professionals who will work for less money. Don’t view this as a bad thing. View yourself as an expert and the marketplace always pays experts more than beginners. Take May and turn this month on its ears by positioning yourself as an expert.

Conduct a skills inventory

This is a skills assessment. This is the first step of the process. Before you position yourself as an expert, you must know what you can do. Write down what you can do not what you are good at (yet). Just scribble down what you can do at work. Also include your hobbies. If you are the head of your Girl Scouts troop then write down that you possess leadership and child development skills. Make this an exhaustive list because you don’t know what you are good at. Too often we restrict our talents and skills to our job. Here list everything.

Determine what you are good at

Now whittle down that exhaustive list into three categories: low medium and high. These categories are for how well you perform each skill. If you are not very good at it, rate it as low. If you are good at it but not an expert, rate it as medium. However, if you can do it in your sleep, rate this as high. When you’re done, you’ve categorized all of the skills on your list.

Focus on the Skills on Your High List

This list contains the skills that you will use towards becoming an expert. These are the skills that separate you from everyone else. This list serves as the foundation to build your competitive advantage. Your competitive advantage is the one thing that you can do better than anyone else. This advantage is how you position yourself in the market. It is also how you overcome the dredge of new college graduates entering the market. They don’t have your skills, wisdom and experience.

Furthermore, your competitive advantage separates you from your contemporaries too. Those professionals whom have your skills, education, and years of experience don’t have the same comparative advantage. I think that many older professionals only view the new graduates as competition but the person next to you is your competitor. Yet, he probably does not have your competitive advantage because there is something that you can do better than he can do.

Communicate Your Comparative Advantage

This is the final but critical step towards becoming an expert. People must know what you can do. There are plenty of highly skilled people whom don’t promote themselves in the marketplace. No one will know if you don’t communicate this to them. You can communicate this through speaking and giving presentations. I know that more people fear public speaking than death. Let me put a spin on this : when you speak, you are communicating your proficiency. Don’t fear transmitting your expertise to people. Embrace it because someone needs and if you are really good, will pay for it. You can also write and mentor other people. These are two other communication methods. Regardless of the means that you use, get your message out there so that someone will notice. Communicating your comparative advantage sends a signal out to the marketplace that you have overcome fear of public speaking and the unknown to emerge as an expert.

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This Week on PCM : People Need Encouragement to Change

04302016 encouragement

Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. People don’t change with encouragement and help. If left isolated, they revert back to their old ways. Harvard Business Review highlights this very problem. In its publication, the magazine reports that people don’t change unless they receive support. You have to believe in that they have the capacity to change. The article continues stating that if you don’t think that they can change, then they will not change. Here is the article below: https://hbr.org/2016/04/people-wont-grow-if-you-think-they-cant-change

Visit PositivityChange to manifest and manage all positive change in your personal and professional lives.

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