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The rediscovery of common sense

February 16, 2015


The last year I tried out varioues productivity techniques in order to keep up with my new role at work, the birth of my 2nd child and a series of large scale organisational workshops in various locations that I needed to get done in a single month (I need to say now, that actually the organisation of family is the most challening of all of it and enjoy the relative quiteness at work!)

Everything that sounded good enough to improve my system was worth a try, from “Getting Things Done” to “Inbox Zero”, from “22 minute meetings” to “slack”. I have to say, that during the challenges at that time, my system became way more effective, the nicest of all my almost always empty inbox.

Having all this in mind and due to my job the whole Agile value system and it’s principles everyday in front of me, the other day I picked up my daughter from her Friday afternoon Korean lessons. The classes are conducted in a public school in Charlottenburg, in the classroom’s apparently of some 7th grade. I scanned their drawings and stuff on the walls and realized that they had created some posters for themselves on time-management. One of them had 5 plain points written on it:

  • The most important things first
  • Create a time plan
  • Practice regularly
  • Allow yourself for breaks
  • Do not let yourself get distracted

That moment somehow struck me. I am getting paid to help teams implement buzzy sounding values and practices like the ones mentioned above. But the same stuff, I try to implement in the teams and organizations I work with, in non-buzzy terms are already used and implemented by simple 7th graders. It is all the same common sense stuff, that all of us need to apply to our contexts. Let’s check the 7th graders points with the Agile language again…

  • The most important things first” = “prioritize by business value
  • Create a time plan” = “release / sprint planning
  • Practice regularly” = “continuous improvement
  • Allow yourself for breaks” = “slack time
  • Do not let yourself get distracted” = “focus

My own conclusion is this… through all the buzzy language, there is just common sense lingering that has been applied to the one or other situation and context. No magic, really, no! It’s cool actually. I get paid to apply common sense. Fantastic. My next plan then is to kick off a meetup with those seventh graders to learn more from them on how to get things done (Zwinkern)

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