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Agile Life Planning: Updating your Backlog of Personal Goals and Objectives

In our previous articles about Agile Life Planning we talked about how to determine a set of life goals, and make a list of objectives and steps to achieve them. This article deals with the next stage of Agile Life Planning. Its purpose is to ensure a regular revision of that list, constantly updating the backlog of goals and objectives.

In our previous articles about Agile Life Planning we talked about how to determine a set of life goals, and make a list of objectives and steps to achieve them. This article deals with the next stage of Agile Life Planning. Its purpose is to ensure a regular revision of that list, constantly updating the backlog of goals and objectives.

life-backlog-grooming.png


What is a relevant backlog?

Ensuring the relevance of goals and objectives means:

  1. Keeping track of all objectives in the backlog - required and actually necessary
  2. Assessing their relevance and urgency, and setting priorities
  3. Categorizing and grouping related tasks

Solving all these tasks has a lot in common with a Scrum tool called Product Backlog Grooming. Grooming in Scrum is a regular meeting dedicated to “grooming” the backlog of tasks. At such a meeting, the product owner and the team must ascertain that all the existing tasks are actually necessary, that they all have their priorities, and the tasks that will be planned in the nearest iteration have been detailed and decomposed.

How to apply Grooming for Agile Life Planning?

In analogy to the Scrum terminology, this stage 3 can be called “Life Backlog Grooming.” Its purpose is to shake up and clean the list of life goals and tasks. So, what should be borrowed from Scrum, and what tools can be applied towards making sure that you achieve your personal goals:

  1. First, we have the assessment and prioritizing of backlog tasks. Like in IT, personal planning needs a roadmap with prioritized tasks and benchmarks.
  2. Second, we add new objectives and remove outdated objectives and tasks if necessary.
  3. Third, we analyze the dependencies between tasks and we unify related tasks into projects.

Now, let’s see how we can regularly accomplish all these in practice.

How to organize Life Backlog Grooming

Regular backlog analysis

By using Grooming we can analyze the relevance of personal goals and tasks either at regular intervals or when required. It is better to combine both approaches: carry out Life Backlog Grooming at least once every quarter (e.g. at the end of quarter), but if some important changes occur during that period, revise your backlog earlier.

Adding and deleting tasks and objectives from the backlog

Now we look at these two processes separately:

  • Adding new objectives. If you add a new objective to your plan, then its details should be analyzed as described like we did in our article on Agile Life Planning. After that, this objective or habit must be decomposed into tasks and embedded into the general Mind Map.
  • Deleting outdated objectives. If, for any reason, a goal is no longer relevant or outdated, it should be removed from the Mind Map. But in that case it is necessary to check if there are any dependencies with other goals and objectives, and if they exist, you should analyze them too. It is also worth looking at the list of tasks for the deleted goal; there may be some interesting and valuable ideas and plans that should be preserved for the future.

In our next article we will look at how to distribute all goals and objectives into categories and priorities.

Pavel Novikov 
Program Manager

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