Monday, January 07, 2019

Week 1 Goal: Call friends and relatives who I haven’t seen in years

OK, people, it's official! My 60-week birthday party has begun! As my sister so delicately pointed out yesterday, I tend to overwhelm myself with goals at the New Year and go a little crazy because I'm so excited about doing so many things!

Creating the User Story

In order to keep focus, I'm using some of the techniques I teach to Agile teams.  The first goal I choose from my backlog of 60 goals, was #7: Call friends and relatives who I haven’t seen in years.

In Agile circles we call this a "user story." It's something we want to accomplish in a short-timeframe (in my case, a 1-week iteration) that will add value, but we need to ask two important questions: Why do we want to do this? and How will we know when it's done?  We also might add tasks and when we start working on this, we may need to adjust how we're going about accomplishing this.

I refined this story to:

Call at least 10 friends and relatives to reconnect with, invite them to my 60-week-birthday-party, and ask them for a song to contribute to my party playlist (see items 25-27 on my backlog)

Now I know I'm "done" when I've called at least 10 people and I am clear about my purpose.

Some might think I'm not really "done" if I didn't call at least 60 people since that's how many songs I want on my playlist, but I will worry about getting all 60 songs and inviting others to my virtual party when I'm working on those stories. We want to keep these stories manageable to something I can do in a week.  This story is part of two bigger features..  one to be more connected and one to plan and execute my 60-week-birthday party.

Doing the "work"
You may think it's easy to call 10 friends and relatives but it is a little awkward to call people who you don't normally call. You feel worried about interrupting them or that they may think you're bothering them with another one of your crazy ideas that they don't really want to participate in (no.. that NEVER happens to me!)

My first call was to my Aunt who lives in Pittsburg and the first words she said were, "Is anything wrong?"  Quite an understandable concern when a relative calls you from out of the blue.

I decided it might be a good idea to send an email to the people I was planning to call to give them a head's up. I also asked for phone numbers for those distant relatives who's numbers I didn't have.  I didn't get much response to this, but that's OK. I've learned over the years, that some people think my ideas are weird. They, perhaps, are not the best people to invite to a 60-week-virtual-birthday-party.

Once I stopped thinking I had to call distant relatives who don't know me and changed the focus to people who are accustomed to my quirky ideas. it became much easier.

Once we do the work, we want to demo to our customers or stakeholders some evidence that we accomplished what we set out to do. You, my loyal blog readers, will be my 'customers.' Though I know you probably have no skin in this game, this helps me have some accountability.  It will help if you give me feedback in the comments, since that is your role here, but, sadly, I rarely get comments either on the blog or on Facebook (except from my favorite anonymous blog commenter, MB! I'm counting on you!!)

People I haven't talked to for a long time and their song:
1. Chris Y. - My Way
2. Aunt Frances - Maybe Ave Marie
3. Aunt Nancy - Mack the Knife or Fascination
4. Dee O. - Ebb Tide
5. Alma P. - Help Me Make it Through the Night
6. Peter F. - TBD
7. Nancie F. - TBD but will pick a 60's song
8. Kay D. - TBD
9. Stella K. - TBD
10. Lucia F. - Unchained Melodies

Also, for demo purposes, I did get a picture of my call with my Aunt Lucia, but she didn't like the way she looked in it (duh! Does anyone think they look good with these Webcams?)

My sister, Michele, who has been a solid supporter in my ventures volunteered herself and her husband, Ray, to help with this demo. This is much appreciated since it's quite out-of-character that he was amenable to this request.

The Retrospective / Learnings
What worked well:

  • It turns out my phone connection works much better with FaceTime than without it! Weird! 
  • It was really fun catching up with people I hadn't talked to in a long time!
  • Most people really liked my 60-week-birthday-party idea!
  • I got some good ideas of things that I can do in the next 60 weeks!
  • It was fun to get the pictures of the FaceTime calls and don't Michele and Ray look so cute?

What didn't work so well:

  • It was harder to get contact information for distant relatives than I thought it would be.
  • It's hard for people to come up with a song for my playlist on the spot. (But that's OK, I have plenty of time to collect those.)

Getting Feedback:
Here is my ask: You can say ANYTHING, but, if you made it this far, please leave a comment.  Here are some examples of things you might say:

  • Can I go to your 60-week virtual/real party even though it sounds confusing? (The answer is Yes!)
  • Here's what my song would be for your playlist: [your song here]
  • This blog post is too long.
  • Hi
  • Why didn't you call me?
  • You are a geek.
  • What are you doing in Week 2?
  • I think you should have called your 'ex'.
  • This is brilliant! I love how you use Agile to accomplish your goals! Will you work for me?
  • This is fake news.


Michele Hebrank said...

Congrats on getting through your first week!

Looking forward to watching (and being a part of) your journey.

Yvette Francino said...

Yay! A comment! Now I need to request that when you leave a comment you tell me who you are!

Anonymous said...

* Here's what my song would be for your playlist:
* This blog post is too long.
* Hi
* Why didn't you call me?
* You are a geek.
* I think you should have called your 'ex'.
* This is brilliant! I love how you use Agile to accomplish your goals! Will you work for me?
* This blog post is too short.
* This blog post is confusing.
* This is a blog post?
* Is this thing on?
* Crazy
* Gotta go

Yvette Francino said...

OK, Anonymous Blogger, you get LOTS of points for your comment and for even picking a song from a 1968 movie, but in order to get credit for all these points (that MAYBE will result in a prize) you have to reveal your identity...

Unknown said...

I do read all of your blogs. Lol 😁 I'll start commenting. Love this idea, definitely hope I get an invite to your birthday πŸŽ‚ πŸŽ‰

Yvette Francino said...

Samar! You are absolutely at the top of my list, Pretty Lady! Expect a call from me soon asking for your song choice. I've been thinking about you. And I will plan a visit in the next 60 weeks, too, so we can have a special celebration! Miss you!

Michele Hebrank said...

Sorry to not ID myself. I guess I thought my id signature was automatically attached(?)
So....... anyway, this is your sister. Your encouraging and amused sister. Looking forward to week “2’s goals” reveal!πŸ˜‰

Anonymous said...

Your favorite anonymous blog commenter weighing in…for better or for worse…

Phone connections work even better when your cell phone battery is charged, especially when you are heading to a trailhead that you’ve never been to.

I am surprised that a task-oriented person like you doesn’t have a schedule to routinely catch up with the folks you apparently haven’t caught up with in quite a while. Kind of a conundrum?

In addition to emails, send out hand-written invites to your “journey.” Include stamped and self-addressed envelopes. Folks love to get “old-fashioned” letters and cards in the mail. So will you!

Does it have to be a song? Can it be a poem or a saying?

Your blog is never too long!

Your sister looks like you. (I too, thought it was your aunt from the way your blog read.)

So glad to be your “favorite” anonymous commenter! But it looks like I have some competition, which bodes well for your project.

When you discover what truly works for you, it really will be brilliant.

I’ll be expecting weekly updates on Facebook. I also expect them to be numbered and dated. Give me a heads up if my place in line is approaching.

When you get the contact info for your distant relatives they won’t be distant anymore.

When this is all over, will you be chartering private jets to transport everyone to your (actual) 60th Birthday Party…which will obviously be at your “Warm Weather” snowbird location in February of 2020.

Yvette Francino said...

Anonymous 2: This comment is too long. ;)

Just kidding! Awesome observations! You should think about getting a job as an agile stakeholder!