Tuesday Sep 25, 2012

Iterative and Incremental Principle Series 2: Finding Focus

Welcome back to the second blog in a five part series where I recount my personal experience with applying the Iterative and Incremental principle to my daily life.  As you recall from part one of the series, a conversation with my son prompted me to think about practical applications of the Iterative and Incremental approach and I realized I had incorporated this principle in my exercise regime.   

I have been a runner since college but about a year ago, I sustained an injury that prevented me from exercising.  When I was sufficiently healed, I decided to pick it up again.  Knowing it was unrealistic to pick up where I left off, I set a goal of running 3 miles or approximately for 30 minutes.    I was excited to get back into running and determined to meet my goal.  Unfortunately, after what felt like a lifetime, I looked at my watch and realized that I had 27 agonizing minutes to go!  My determination waned and my positive “I can do it” attitude was overridden by thoughts of “This is impossible”.   My initial focus and excitement was not sustained so I never met my goal.  

Understanding that the 30 minute run was simply too much for me mentally, I changed my approach.   I decided to try interval training.  For each interval, I planned to walk for 3 minutes, then jog for 2 minutes, and finally sprint for 1 minute, and I planned to repeat this pattern 5 times.  I found that each interval set was challenging, yet achievable, leaving me excited and invigorated for my next interval.  I easily completed five intervals – or 30 minutes!!  My sense of accomplishment soared.

What does this have to do with OUM?  Have you heard the saying -- “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!”?  This adage certainly applies in my example and in an OUM systems implementation.  It is easier to manage, track progress and maintain team focus for weeks at a time, rather than for months at a time.   With shorter milestones, the project team focuses on the iteration goal.  Once the iteration goal is met, a sense of accomplishment is experience and the team can be re-focused on a fresh, yet achievable new challenge. 

Join me tomorrow as I expand the concept of Iterative and incremental by taking a step back to explore the recommended approach for planning your iterations.

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