At Industrial Logic we have a diverse team that is distributed globally. We are all very experienced software and agile practitioners that have been around the block several times with helping teams and organizations vastly improve the way they work together to build software.
Last week we were away for our annual in-person meetup/retreat and it was phenomenal. I’m writing this on the last leg of a 30 hour trip back home to Cairo and I’ve never been so energized. The next few blog posts will contain many things I’ve learned and relearned.
What I’d like to discuss today is something truly marvelous. It is the idea of “following the energy” instead of following a strict agenda and timeline. If it sounds a little un-professional and un-businesslike to you, it did to many of us. But boy did it make a difference in our results.
Stated simply “follow the energy” means follow your own energy and that of the group. When you are tired, rest. When you’re not feeling it on one topic or task, go do another. When you need to nap, by all means, go ahead and nap.
What this enabled us to do was to bring our WHOLE SELVES to everything we worked on. That means we were fresher, more engaged, and much better able to work as a team. The results were amazing – we completed tasks as a team and took them to completion regularly. And the quality of those tasks were much higher than we would have gotten if we were working on it because we had assigned something to be done.
Now don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a free-for-all. We had well-defined tasks and we had them prioritized. We didn’t go work on task #10 before we were done with task #1. But what we DID do is agree as a group what we would be working on. And we had a few things that we were doing in parallel. So that if your energy ebbed on one task, you were able to move to another. And if you needed some time to decompress and do something else, it was absolutely safe and ENCOURAGED to do so until you had your energy back and were ready and eager to dive back in.
So, “follow the energy” is one of our new team agreements and we will continue to work that way as a team. I expect we’ll have better results and enjoy doing so much more than we have in the past.