Agile Life Planning: Updating your Backlog of Personal Goals and Objectives – part 2

In the first part of our article we looked at what a backlog is and how we can apply grooming to it in order to make sure that our goals always stay relevant. Let’s continue our discussion on this subject.

In the first part of our article we looked at what a backlog is and how we can apply grooming to it in order to make sure that our goals always stay relevant. Let’s continue our discussion on this subject.

Categories and priorities
Now distribute all goals and objectives into 3 categories:

  1. “Projects” — interrelated tasks within one goal. Project should unite groups of tasks associated with achieving a sufficiently large-scale and important goal. Each such group is one project, containing the entire list of related actions, tasks, and conditions.
  2. “Current tasks” — tasks for the nearest year. This category includes all other confirmed, important and relevant tasks which have no additional relationships. They will form a backlog of actions for the nearest year.
  3. “Long-term tasks” — tasks for future planning:
First, this group is a general backlog of goals and objectives to be realized not earlier than in a year. Second, this group will include all goals and tasks for which timeframes remain unclear. They do not require resolution in the nearest future, and you can return to them later, for example, in the process of the next iteration of Life Backlog Grooming. Even if you are not doing anything with such “long-term tasks”, it is very important to maintain such a list and regularly return to it. Sometimes you can find new applications to interesting ideas, or see an opportunity to implement something that you failed to do before.

Do we need accurate estimations of tasks?

Speaking about the tasks that will be included in the current year backlog and the remaining long-term tasks, I primarily mean their priority and implement ability. It is of course important to make at least an approximate estimation in order to understand if a year would be a sufficient time for a certain task. But, first, if you really want to solve certain task / achieve certain goal in the nearest year and have all necessary tools and capabilities, then you should think how it can be done and plan it. And second, in case of big tasks, decomposition will always help you.

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What do we need all that for?

To sum up, I would like to note that you can quickly clean up your backlog by regularly updating your goals and tasks. The main thing is that Life Backlog Grooming enables you to see a general picture of what is happening, which goals are relevant at a given moment, what should be planned and started in the nearest future, and what can be handled later.

Next you will need to do tactical and strategic planning, to determined what, when and how to implement. Planning and handling tasks on a daily basis is stage 4 of Agile Life Planning.

Pavel Novikov 
Program Manager

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