EBER Project -- Bullet Ephemeris Redux

Since I'm in the middle of flushing out the EBER project, I wanted to explain how I've been using the bullet ephemeris for project planning and management.

First, I created a main project page to capture the high level stuff:

Sorry for all the blank space, but it is a personal project after all.

I ended up using vision statements rather than a long narrative paragraph. This means that my vision statement sounds a lot like the kind of things I'd make sigils out of -- and don't think I won't take advantage of that.

I also very briefly outlined the first two main phases of the project, which are scheduled to take a year. Then I'll have a month long review / planning period to define and kick off year two. This is important for two reasons: one, the entire first year is focused on information gathering so I won't know what's next until I have more information and two, with agile planning I don't have to know everything in advance.

Consider how lightweig…

Talking About Magic and Project Management with Gordon

I was so pleased to be able to chat with Gordon on his RuneSoup podcast recently. He's a great interviewer and is really good at putting people at ease. Pretty much everything he does is highly recommended.
Amusing note, I'm so bad at marketing that the spouse had to remind me that maybe I want to mention it on my blog too!

The EBER Project -- Backlog and Schedule and Phases Oh my!

So, let's talk a little bit more about the component parts of a major agile project like the EBER project. At the highest level, your project contains goals, plans, and deadlines. However, we now know more about how each of those things is handled.


The epics, stories, and tasks that you started creating become part of the backlog of work. A backlog is basically a stack-ranked list of things you need to do to meet your goals. So for example:

[EPIC] story

So for my physical fitness epic, I might have the following stories and tasks

[Fit] I want to get additional regular exercise to increase strength and stamina
        Buy new running shoes
        Take the dog for a run instead of a walk
        Take a walk at lunch during the week
        Research three gym options in the area
        Update budget to account for gym membership
        Schedule gym visits in advance 3x per week
        Sign up for membership
        Pack a gym bag
        Get your a…

The EBER Project -- Epics and Stories

One of the things that appealed to be most when I first learned about Agile was that they had epics and stories (and themes too, though I don't usually work with those). Since I take a narrative-focused view of life and magic, it makes sense that these terms would appeal to me.

In the last EBER project post, we walked down from strategic to tactical as far as goals. But it's not always a clean jump from a goal to the day to day things you need to do to meet the goal.

I'm going to steal an example from Dave Ramsey's Getting Things Done (tm) method here. I don't like everything about his method (his hoarders-level attitude to saving paper, for example) but there are lots of good nuggets in the system. He talks about how you probably have items on your to do list that never get done like "clean the garage." This is because "clean the garage" isn't granular enough. It's too overwhelming. You really need to break it down to much smaller bits …

The Bullet Ephemeris

I promised a review of this to someone on Facebook, so I figured why not write about it here and get a 2-fer.

I currently track the majority of my magical stuff in a bullet journal style ephemeris. I know there are some very awesome magical astrological journals and such (like this gorgeous one by Benebell Wen) but for me, there's something important about having my own journal.

First, it's always going to be more accurate. I track some things that are either less common (thanks to Gordon I'm a Decan fan) or completely personal (like times when the current astrological alignments match my personal horoscope). Things that I don't care about don't get in the way. Plus everything is in my timezone.

Second, there's a real power to handwriting the information in. There's skin in the game and a sense of ownership of the book. Plus unlike digital solutions, it's a real world object, which is important in my very digital life.

So what's a bullet journal? Th…

The EBER Project -- Connecting the Dots

OK, for those of you who work for a company, does your company have a mission statement? Do they have values? Do they articulate some annual or quarterly vision? (Quick Googling is allowed here).

Odds are they do (this is what E-staff do on all those off-sites and retreats after all). However, odds are lower that you know what those things say. And even if you are familiar, those lofty sounding and buzzword laden statements may not have any discernible connection to or impact on what you do every day at work. This is super common by the way, and has been the case at most of the companies I've worked for. They can't connect the dots between the strategic and the tactical. The strategy might actually make sense, but there's no link to your actual work. And the values sound good, but the company may not live by them.

But we aren't talking about companies here, we're talking about your life. And in your life you can do better. You are your own CEO -- who creates the s…

The EBER Project -- Goals and Tasks

Note: Big update to the Index Page...

One really common mistake people make in projects is confusing goals and tasks. It's such a common mistake that I recently slipped up on this myself during my last personal project (Project Ivy).

A goal is an end result that you want to accomplish. A task is a thing you will do to get to that end result. 

First issue: mistaking tasks for goals

When I started my project (about this time last year actually) I listed "get more outdoor exercise" as a goal. Certainly, getting more exercise isn't a bad idea, but if you think about it, it's not really a goal. The end result I wanted wasn't "more outdoor exercise" -- that was just a means to an end. Really my goals were:

Be more physically fit (which in itself is kind of a crappy goal -- more on this later)Spend more time outdoors The outdoor exercise was just a way of reaching those goals.
So why is this a problem? Well, if you have a small project this may not be a big …