No Sprint is complete unless it includes a retrospective and a review.  We need to examine what we accomplished and how we got here.  Those same considerations are important to make a part of our personal lives.  A personal retrospective and review are well-suited for natural pauses in our lives, such as Holidays or a vacation.  The new year is also right around the corner.  A resolution based on our desires rather than avoiding bad things is more likely to succeed.

An Agile Year-End

A sprint in the world of Agile methodologies includes a review and a retrospective.  The first is where we “show-off” or examine what was completed.  The latter is where we look for ways to improve, either by doing more good or less harm. Then, we can apply these to our results from the past year.  The idea of a sprint is that we set goals, attempt to achieve them, evaluate, adjust, and repeat.  All of those steps are excellent for our personal goals.

The Personal Retrospective

The essential factor of a retrospective is to find ways to improve.  In our life, we need to define what that looks like.  We can aim to be happier, less stressed, healthier, wiser, make more money, or all of the above.  With these goals in mind, we can perform a personal retrospective.  I recommend an hour or two at least to list out what went well last year, what went off the rails, and then changes you can make next year.  The above may seem like an over-architected solution.  However, it is not.  That time spent will help you walk through your entire year.  It will help to have a calendar or similar tool that can refresh your mind about things done, attempted, and achieved.

More Or Less?

The best thing to spark this process is a list of your goals from the prior year.  If you do not, then make one for the year ahead.  A good list of objectives and achievements provides you a perfect metric for what you did right or where you stumbled.  These form the basis for change in the year ahead.  While doing this exercise at the end of the year is not critical, it is good to do it when you have some time away from the grind.  Allow yourself to dream a bit of what better days would look like.  Then you can line up some goals to get to those better days.

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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