I hope you will forgive a bit of a personal ramble here…
One of the reasons I am such an advocate of Agile is it makes work fun. To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re in delivery or not – working in this way is enjoyable and rewarding. Another reason I love it is the idea of working at a sustainable pace. It’s funny how often you have to remind teams they don’t HAVE to kill themselves to deliver or over-commit isn’t it? I don’t think I have ever heard someone tell another person “You’re spending too much time away from work.”. What you work on, who you work with and what you produce all have the potential to enrich your life. I believe Agile, in the right setting, has the ability to turn that potential into reality. We spend a lot of time working – let’s make it as awesome as we possibly can.
I have personal work experiences which are great examples of awesome and others….not so much. Reflecting back on those that weren’t so great, I’m struck at how much energy and emotion I put into them. They took away from my life outside of work – negatively impacting me, the people I love and the people at work. I learn from every experience but those not so good ones, are the ones that truly altered my point of view. I discovered my boundaries and actively seek to enforce them, no matter the cost, because I’m unwilling to experience that kind of negative impact myself again. I’m also unwilling to knowingly and negatively impact those I love again. Even when doing work I love – as I am now – I still have to be mindful of those same boundaries. It’s tempting to put more effort and energy into doing something I love so much but, the cost to those I love isn’t a debt I’m willing to take on.
I’m lucky. I get to work at something every day that I love and find rewarding. I’m also fortunate to have had experiences (though I didn’t feel so fortunate at the time) that reminded me how important life outside of work is. I’m thinking the goal isn’t really a sustainable pace – for me or for teams – it’s balance. It’s having the ability to grow as a person, separate from your career, and spend time, effort, energy and emotion on the people, activities and things you love. Finding the balance may be the key to really being able to bring your whole self to work every day and enjoy the time you spend there as much as you enjoy the time away.
Clearly, this isn’t really an “Agile” topic. It is something I learned and, therefore, keeps with the overall theme of this blog. It’s highly probably what I’ve shared isn’t new to anyone. Really, it’s just a reminder for myself. Balance and Evenflow.