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The Continuity Of Moving Into A New Year (e.g. 2023)

Although I don’t have fixed moments at which to do it, I like to also regularly reflect and look back in my personal life or when operating my one-person company called Ullizee-Inc (my vehicle to deliver value in four Scrum Service Areas). [It is not a form of or a part of ‘Scrum’, because —well— that’s not what it is.] Even if I rarely experience such moments of reflection as reasons for a hard stop or to drastically pivot, turn back or turn around, it does help me to validate the direction I am taking, review what is most important or change direction.

Moving into a new year is one of those cyclical periods where I typically practice some larger scale reflection by considering the past year–its defining events, emotions and experiences. However, I do stay away from making so-called ‘new year resolutions’. I embrace the continuity of time and prefer more incremental changes along the way. Whatever we do, and even if we prefer otherwise, time will tick on (regardless its relative speed) and we will go forward. We can’t actually stop or turn back the clock.

I maintain a “Backlog” as an evolving list of work or realizations that I deem as needed or potentially valuable without having some calendar year separation in it. [I don’t use an electronic tool for it, unless my Apple Notes app is considered such a ‘tool’ obviously.] There is no hard stop in my list of ideas and opportunities just because of the flash moment where we go from 31 December to 1 January (which in my calendar means we go from one calendar year to the next). I manage my opportunities to deliver value continually. Although juggling is a better word than ‘managing’ is. My Backlog is always actual. My Backlog is the source from which I extract the work I will focus on on a week-by-week basis. [I don’t consider my weekly iterations ‘Sprints’, because that’s not necessarily what they are.]

It is not entirely unlike managing my reading list. I buy more books than I can possibly read. Every newly bought book starts high on my list, but given my ever-changing interests, unplanned readings that demand my attention and time ticking away relentlessly it remains to be seen whether it stays that high. And then only actually reading them can validate whether I gave it the right priority. I can only be sure of the books I have actually read.

Next to the first cluster of online classes that I have planned for 2023 as part of my Scrum Caretakery activities, I plan to more mindfully undertake my Home Caretakery activities: the care for our two sons with very special needs (given their respective disabilities). In practice, the activities in this fifth, shadow service area already ruled out being away from home too frequently or for more than a few days anyhow.

I do envision however (finally) creating my new book about Scrum in which I currently envision sharing ideas and ways to move (your) Scrum downfield. As we speak and as I am embarking on this new writing journey, I also discovered a few ideas somewhere hidden in my brain for a fourth edition of my bookScrum – A Pocket Guide” as well.

As part of the Scrum Service Area “Events”, I look much forward to traveling to the USA for the first time in several years. I will deliver a talk at the Scrum Day USA event in Madison, Wisconsin (kindly invited by Mary Iqbal). I will probably share my latest ideas, observations and findings about “Moving (your) Scrum Downfield” and, who knows, a status update on my book about the topic.
>>> Get your ticket soon (early bird until 30 April).

Allow me to close my message by going back to the theme of calendars. Did you know that the Chinese Year of the Rabbit (sometimes a hare) has started? In general, I am not into zodiac and alike things, but this one caught my attention. A very long time again (at the age of 11), in a ritual called ‘totemisation’ at a summer camp with the boy scouts, I was given the name of “Diligent Rabbit” (“Ijverig Konijn”).

I wish us all the best for 2023 and beyond, even if the Doomsday Clock was recently moved forward to 90 seconds to midnight, which is the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been.

Gunther Verheyen
your independent Scrum Caretaker