Posts

Showing posts from October, 2017

FAQs About my Consulting Services

Image
Well, there's been a lot of interest in my consulting services since I went on Gordon's podcast. And I've gotten several questions that I though would be useful to answer here.



First of all, what consulting services? Go take a look -- if you ever wanted to be more organized or have someone to help you get your shit together, well that's what I do. And if you want to combine that with magic for even more leverage? That's my specialty.

FAQs
How do I start?
I usually like to start with a free half hour Skype chat. I learn what you're after and you to learn how I work. The goal is to decide whether we're a good fit before you spend any money.

How do you work?
I'm neither a therapist or life coach. I like to keep things super practical. Every minute of our consultation needs to be productive and you should come away feeling like you have concrete next steps. You will have homework that I review before the next session. That means our time together is more foc…

The EBER Project -- When Goals Attack

Image
When I started planning my major, three year project (dubbed Early to Bed, Early to Rise -- EBER) I knew it was important to immediately begin working on one or two of the goals. So I broke down part of the project into epics and then chose a couple of stories to get started on. This even before initiating the project.

This is useful because it keeps me from getting too caught up in planning. I need to be making traction even while the rest of the plan comes into focus.

My two chosen epics were around physical fitness and information gathering. Now, there's an argument to be made against focusing on too many things at once. But there's also some logic around intelligently picking stories that compliment one another.

My physical fitness stories are primarily physical -- though they have emotional and mental benefits. They are active but allow me time to think. My information gathering stories are mental / spiritual. They are contemplative but require focus and quiet time.

So th…

Sustain-ability: what you can, with what you've got, where you are.

Image
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt

Boy, this past week has been crazy and the next is shaping up the same. We've got family illness, migraines, too much work, not enough sleep, etc. And lots of good stuff going on too (like PM consults and travel and plans to meet people and so forth). We've all been focused on just motoring through the tough stuff so we can try to enjoy the good.

This happens to everyone of course. Chaos theory tells us that shit clumps up (actually it probably tells us some more elegant things using math, but go with me here) and good or bad, stuff does seem to clump. Even the budding psychonaut commented on it: "why is it completely boring for weeks and then suddenly everything happens all at once?"


When things get crazy, I like to remind myself of the quote above. Sometimes plans, goals, and best intentions are all sacrificed on the altar of the daily grind. Whatever you want to do, sometimes there are t…

EBER Project -- Bullet Ephemeris Redux

Image
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

Image
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!

Image
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.



Goals



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
    task
    task
    task

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

Image
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 …