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An occasional data tap into Peter Burkholder’s brain


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LifeHacks + DevOps + MeetUp: LifeOps When I worked at NCAR, in Boulder, CO, I fell into a group of three other professionals who met every three weeks to keep each other on track on our big-picture life goals. Although this was before I used Scrum, it was not unlike scrum for life: What have I done, what am I doing next, what are my roadblocks, and how does this fit into the big picture? I’m now looking for something along the same lines, since I found that that structure helped me see the progress I was making on what mattered to me, and to stay on track when roadblocks came up, as they inevitably did. Our NCAR’‘Goals Group’ comprised an atmospheric scientist, a science writer, a grants administrator, and a system administrator (me). Since none of us worked together or had friends in common, there was no baggage brought to the table. We could just focus on getting things done. What I’d like to see a similar group cover: Big picture professional goals: such as which free-lance writing project to pursue, certification to obtain, or degree program to research. Financial goals: Finding a new tax accountant, setting a new home budget target, tackling a home renovation project Personal goals: If you want to have more music in your life, are you going to join a choir or start taking guitar lessons? The goals are yours to choose, or to change your mind about. The role of the group is to challenge you to keep on track with them, and to help you step back and see the forest for the trees on a regular basis. Listening is the most important thing, but feedback should come in as well: “You finished the Mongo DBA 102 course; excellent!” “Maybe you’re not going to find the right degree course and you’ll just need to train yourself.” “GTD didn’t work for me; if you want to try out personal Kanban. I can give you some resources” “The last three meetings you said you were going to update your will. How about next time you just come back with a list of three lawyers to call?” “Jumping from open-source project to open-source project is just alienating people. Maybe you should back off for a bit and commit to just one in a month or two.” (maybe that one is a little harsh) What LifeOps is not: Group therapy: I’m all for you tackling your emotional issues, so set “Find group therapy” as a concrete goal with an actionable first step, and get back to us next meeting on how it went Bitch and moan: None of that either. Things are tough all over, so tough get going. If you need to whine, take it to your neighborhood bar. Monitorama was the impetus for me taking this goals group thing on again. I’d like to work on the documentation for Sensu, but I don’t want to start in unless I can assure myself I’ll stay with it for at least six months; that’ll it’ll stay a top priority amidst the other priorities posed by work, family, home, and various competing facets of modern life. An external sounding board is just the thing I need, and I hope you’ll join me in seeking the same. Proposed format: Every two months in person before DevOpsDC; every three weeks as a Google Hangout (after/before #hangops? or time TBD by  Doodle poll. Members: 3 min, 5 max.  Comment or reach me @pburkholder