Space, the final frontier?

Space is a great word. It can mean many things and nothing at all.Image of the Earth from space

The focus of this blog is on improving yourself in the same way we would improve software. To do this we need space in a lot of different ways.

If you want to improve, you need some space.

To begin with, we need space to make changes.
In a lot of software environments, people have no time to learn anything new or to try something beyond an already familiar solution. If you want your team to make something remarkable, they need some added space. Many teams try to put too much into each iteration or add items until it is stuffed full. Sometimes there are outside pressures for us to perform at our maximum! Strange since we know that a marathon runner shouldn’t start off by sprinting full speed nor should we fill a highway to 100% capacity. We know these things will end poorly yet we often do this with software teams differently thinking the opposite will occur.

Everyone is familiar with the term ‘room to grow’. Think of a plant crowded in a garden. If we are trying to do three hundred things at once, we are not in a good position to improve.  Kanban instructs us to focus on our work in progress. Despite beliefs that we can multitask, we get much more done by focusing on one task at a time. The overhead of task switching costs us even more of our precious time. You don’t have to fill all of your time up. Try giving yourself some time with nothing at all to do. This is much harder then it sounds. Sometimes this happens for me at the end of a yoga session and I feel like my brain defragments itself. Sometimes new ideas come to me.

The physical space you occupy has a tremendous impact on your life. I talk about refactoring code all the time because it changes the way you think about the code. Does your office have whiteboards beside people? Can they arrange their seats, their desks in a way they like? Can the team create a great environment for collaborating? Some desks are horrible for pair programming. Make it easy for your team to collaborate. If your not sure, you can always ask them.
Your physical space at home is important too. Are you near a gym or a park? Do you have equipment at home?

Finally, I like to think of space that is outside our atmosphere. Too many people tell you what you can’t do. The sky is horrible limit to put on anyone. Don’t put limits on yourself. You have no idea what you can accomplish if can dream big enough.

To summarize, here’s a few points on space:
1. Leave some room in your iteration or schedule so you can do amazing things
2. Work on one thing at a time to be effective
3. Create a positive environment that reinforces what you want to achieve
4. Don’t put any limits on yourself, there’s no shortage of others trying to do that

How does space impact your life?


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