Agile

Carpe sprintum

I’m reading a book called “Carpe Diem Regained”, about how the phrase (meaning seize the day) has been interpreted and misinterpreted over the centuries, and what it can usefully mean to us today.

One aspect that I found parallelled my project work life was that one interpretation of carpe diem is about effective prioritision. The author introduced this idea by talking about Steve Jobs’ address to Stanford students on first finding out about his cancer, and how he responded to it. He clearly did not live a life of hedonism, behaving as if his actions had no consequences for himself and others. He chose to ensure his daily choices had meaningful impact; he prioritised ruthlessly.

This interpretation of carpe diem is about choosing how to live by first thinking about death. It seems frivolous to compare something so serious as death to project prioritisation, but the parallel is quite apparent. If we are to consider walkability as a success measure of our project prioritisation and our inclination towards being agile, then perhaps we can also say carpe sprintum—seize the sprint, and prioritise as if we may have to finish our project at short notice, while still having something we can point to as worthwhile and of lasting value.

And if we can prioritise effectively in our projects then perhaps we can translate that to our life more generally, and we will get the most value out of our lives.

Photo by Martin Cathrae

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