Getting Results the Agile Way – The Book on Getting Results

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GettingResultsTheAgileWay

“Are you getting results? …”

Over Christmas break, I committed to finishing the writing for a book that I expect to change a lot of people’s lives.  It’s my first non-technical book.  The working title is, Getting Results the Agile Way.  It’s all about getting results in work and life.  It’s the playbook I wish somebody had given me long ago for finding work/life balance, managing time, playing to my strengths, and making the most of what I’ve got.

Why Getting Results
The world is a tough place.  Between layoffs, the economy, and simply the unknown, a lot of people are having a really tough time in their lives.  There are constantly new challenges at a pace that’s tough to keep up.  Worse, I don’t think you learn a lot of these skills in school or on the job, except through the school of hard knocks.

This is my playbook for you.  For more than 10 years at Microsoft I’ve tested and evaluated ways to get results.  I’ve had to find things that not only work for me, but that could work for the people I mentor inside and outside the company, as well as for large teams around the world.  I’m a big believer that everybody can get great results if they have the right know-how.

What Sorts of Problems Does It Tackle
The book is a system and a playbook for some of these common challenges:

  • How to find work / life balance
  • How to shift from tasks and activities to meaningful results and outcomes
  • How to use stories and scenario-driven results to carve out value in your life
  • How to overwhelm your challenges with fierce results
  • How to defeat perfectionism
  • How to avoid analysis paralysis and take action a simple story at a time
  • How to find your flow state for more engaging work
  • How to find your passion and purpose
  • How to play to your strengths for more energy and better results
  • How to conquer fear and avoid learned helplessness
  • How to motivate yourself in ways that make you feel you can move mountains
  • How to focus on what really counts
  • How to prioritize more effectively
  • How to create more value for yourself and others
  • How to spend more time on what you want, and less time on what you don’t

It helps with a lot of things because mostly it gets you spending the right time, on the right things, with the right energy, the right way.  This is the key to your best results.

My Story
When I first joined Microsoft, it was sink or swim.  I saw a lot of people fail.  Among the chaos, I also saw many people thrive.  I wanted to know their secrets.  I started with people on my team, but the next thing you know I was studying success patterns around the company.  If somebody was known for getting results, I hunted them down and studied their ways.

I learned so many simple things that actually worked.  For example, instead of managing time, the real key is managing your energy.  I’d rather have four power hours, than a week of just going through the motions.  The secret of work life balance is setting up your own artificial boundaries, whether it’s “dinner on the table at 5:30” or “no work on the weekends.”  Finding your passion can be as simple as connecting to your values.  For example, I use metaphors to make my project an epic adventure and I have the team create the movie poster of what great results will look like.  How’s that for wanting to show up and give your best every day knowing you’re working on blockbuster results?

What is Agile Results?
You’ll hear me talk about Agile Results quite a bit.  It’s the name I gave the system  that serves as the foundation for the Getting Results guide.  Agile is all about responding to change.  It’s agility in action.  It’s all about making progress while the world changes under your feet.

My Agile Results system borrows the best principles, patterns, and practices across a variety of disciplines from sports, positive psychology, personal productivity, Agile development, Scrum, project management, time management, leadership skills, and strengths-based development.  It’s more than a mash up — I’ve tested and honed the system to work for individuals and teams while refining it over years of deliberate practice.  To me, great results for the team, always starts with unleashing an individual’s best.  Having fun is contagious and getting results spreads like a wild fire.

Agile Results in a Nutshell
Here is the Agile Results system at a glance:

  • The Rule of 3 – You can apply the Rule of 3 to work and life to avoid overwhelming yourself while carving out  value, a day at a time, a story at a time.  (See The Rule of 3.)
  • Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection – This is a simple weekly pattern for results.  On Mondays figure out your 3 compelling results for the week.  Each day, figure out your 3 best results for the day.  On Fridays, identify 3 things going well, and 3 things to improve.  (See Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection.)
  • Hot Spots –  This is your heat map.  Hot Spots are a simple lens to look at your life as a portfolio you invest in: mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun.  It’s under-investing or over-investing in these areas that can get in the way of great results.  (See Hot Spots.)

How to Get Started
Getting started is really easy.  If you write down 3 results you want for today, you’re doing Agile Results.  Is there more to it? … Sure, but take it at your own pace.  Here’s a one-page guide for getting started with Agile Results.

How To Follow Along for the Ride
You can read Getting Results for free online in HTML.  I’ll continue to shape the guide over the next several weeks based on feedback.  I’ll also be making March a focus on getting results so if you’ve been looking for a jumpstart for your life, this is a great month to make it happen.

If you’re not getting the results you want in your life, you just need the skills.  Use my guide to stuff your bag of tricks with some new tools that will change your game and help you unleash your best.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Having had the chance to work with several of your results oriented ideas and processes, I am so excited to see that you have compiled all that great information, and more, into one resource that is easy to read and use!!!

    I love that each item can be used, or changed up a bit, to make it work for the individual, so it will work for everyone, whether they already have a system or not! I have been using bits and pieces from my own experience and some others, but I have also found that several of your ideas could be incorporated into my already working system to make it even more effective.

    Way to go J.D.! I really appreciate that you are working on making everyone one around you a success, it’s always a pleasure to work with you and to use your great ideas to get results, it’s amazingly inspiring!
    I am already looking forward to your next “non-technical” work!

  2. I’ve watched this book come together through drafts and posts, and have really enjoyed your insights. It’s a significant accomplishment and I hope you can positively impact many lives through it. I’m already looking forward to shareing copies with some of my close friends.

    Scottsta

  3. Hi JD – congratulations – what an achievement – but it exemplifies your life .. work, evaluate, sort, store, re-sort, refine .. etc and here are the guides and book – fantastic and I’ll be through to give them a go soon I hope .. brilliant – Hilary

  4. The beauty of what you’ve compiled is the wealth of wisdom, concepts and techniques that all contribute to and support what ultimately is an EASY system to adopt. The fact that it’s something you can adopt incrementally and/or slowly makes it even more leveragable.

    If I were to ignore the system all-together, I’d still benefit from abundance of perspectives and learnings you’ve accumulated here.

    Congrats on the book, and thanks for the wisdom JD

  5. It was my pleasure to read-&-review a draft of Getting Results the Agile Way. I’d been doing an incremental adoption of many of the things you’ve taught us, yet it was this book–the amalgam of your agile practices–the Agile Way–which was the tipping point for success.

    I now know the meaning of effectiveness. I got started by adopting the Rule of 3, then came the Monday Vision & Friday Reflection.

    I’ve had a nominally successful career. Yet my life wasn’t balanced. The price of success was hard work, long hours, & no time to take care of my health or spend with my family.

    Back in December I was so impressed by the contents of the book that I made “Grok Agile Results” my first of three most important goals for the year. And it’s already paying off.

    Adopting Getting Results the Agile Way has changed everything. Each day, each week, each month I’m spending time on the things that matter–the things I decide are important. I’m no longer driven by my to-do list. Instead, *I drive my day* by establishing my own priorities. I’m spending less time on the things that don’t matter—including email. I’ve liberated hours each day that I can now use more effectively.

    The real miracle here is that I committed, made the transition, & implemented the tools I needed practically overnight. Today, everything is different. I’ve established an exciting “rhythm of results”. It’s gratifying to see the scannable outcomes–& results that this year has already brought.

    I could go on-&-on-&-on, but let me close by saying thank you, J.D., for giving me the tools to change my life. I’m transitioning to a new role, & I’m fully confident that I have everything I need to be successful working side-by-side with the world’s best engineers.

  6. It’s been fun hearing and seeing your passion about this during our lunch outings! I am confident that the book will convey your passion and help others have the same. Can’t wait to have a copy in my hands!

  7. JD,

    I think this book can really be a game changer for so many people. What I find most amazing about it is its simplicity and that we know it works. I can personally attest that it works given my own adoption of these ideas and over the years working with you.

    I should also mention that for someone who is a techie you write a mean non-technical book. In reviewing it I have to say I could not tell of a technical bias whatsoever so I do think this is something that anyone could relate to.

    Good luck.

  8. Congratulations JD. I’ve enjoyed ‘living’ the agile way as you’ve taught it to me over the past few years and I know for a fact it will improve the performance of many others. Couldn’t you have just kept this secret sauce secret so we could maintain our advantage?! 🙂

  9. Wow, thanks for putting this on-line J.D.! I look forward to reading it and see how it works out for me.

  10. I am with Jason on this JD, why did you have to share the secret sauce with everyone? Now there will be more competition for the rest of us … 🙂 Kidding aside, for those of you take that first step to reading this book, get ready for a tremendous journey!

    –Kevin

  11. Oh, J.D. !! This is just so so so so awesome! Congrats! I too look very forward to reading it.

    3 results I want to see today…

    — haveing left comments on 20 blogs.
    — had a refreshing long walk with my hounds.
    — having become goundedly peaceful via meditation, even if just for 5 minutes to clear my head!

    Wow, and wikipages too!

    As Samantha said, “Way to go, J.D.!”

    You are one of my heroes. Can I get your autograph please? I’ll send a self-adressed stamped envelope for it!!

    🙂
    x0

  12. Congratulations JD with achieving this milestone!

    It’s been inspiring & rewarding to see you develop the techniques for individuals and teams over the years and you will keep improving.

    Congratulations to the people that will learn from JD’s approaches. The practices are easy to adopt and apply to your benefits. It would be interesting to learn how people use them.

    The circle continues: plan, do, learn and improve.

    Enjoy the journey,
    Per

  13. Your at a glance summary is thoughtful especially the hotspots and “Monday vision…” The crispness and completeness of the framework is also typical of your trademark style :).

    I believe this is something people can adapt to thier own needs rather than a fix regimen of sorts.

    Congratulations on your first non-technical book!

  14. The Agile results in a nutshell is very thoughtful, especially the part about hotspots and the monday to friday introspection and course correction. The crispness and simplicity is typical of your trademark style 🙂

    Congratulations on your first non technical book!

  15. Sometimes I wonder if success and happiness is more genetic than anything else. People who want to be happy, take steps to “Make it so.” I’m just sayin’…

    Congrats on the new book. So how do I get it on Kindle. :O)

  16. I am so impressed I am jumping up and down…will be back to read for now just read the post.
    Thank you for your nice comments on my post today – Other bloggers should put out an ebook of JD’s incredible and wonderful comments

    You are very talented Thank you for sharing your wisdom

  17. I can’t wait to read it. I’ve been working on my productivity a lot these past couple years. Your blog has been a real help. I know your book will give me a ton of great ideas too.

    I love the idea of Rule of 3. I know I overwhelm myself when I don’t keep it simple. I also like saving Friday for reflection. I’m a big proponent of reflection the right way. Remembering the positive and negative and trying to make adjustments to improve.

  18. I can clearly see Oprah and Larry fighting one another for who’s going to host you first 😉

    Seriously. It is incredible achievement – I mean your book. Using your insights that you share in your book I was able to balance my work/life while getting promoted twice and getting home at 17:00 regularly.

    Congrats! It is amazing and it is inspiring a lot.

  19. J.D,. I sure could use this book! 😉

    # How to use stories and scenario-driven results to carve out value in your life
    # How to overwhelm your challenges with fierce results
    # How to defeat perfectionism
    # How to avoid analysis paralysis and take action a simple story at a time

    already I’m in! 😉
    I look forward to following your journey in this way
    I get overwhelmed easily, and I appreciate someone who can break it down for me! You do this well! 😉

    warmly,
    Jenn

  20. @ Nadia

    Thank you!

    @ Samantha

    Thank you!

    I like to make others great and I think this is the best way I can lift a lot of folks up in one fell swoop.

    I’m actually excited to move to my next books, but I know I have to first do justice to Getting Results for now and give everybody a platform they can stand on.

    @ Scott

    Thank you — I still remember how you got me started at Microsoft and mentored me in the ways of getting results back in the early days of Dev Support.

    @ Hilary

    Thank you — it’s the start of a new journey and some new adventures.

    @ Paul

    Thank you — I’m a fan of simple, sticky, and incremental. It seems to be the key to adoption and success snowballs from there.

    @ Jimmy

    You never cease to amaze me. When you made grok Agile Results your goal — I didn’t realize just how serious you were. I’m glad I got to watch the transformation right before my eyes as your level of focus, ability to prioritize, and nail compelling outcomes shot to a new level.

    You will no doubt kick arse and take names in your new role.

    @ Rick

    It’s always a fun ride turning dreams into results … you’ll be one of the first to have a copy.

  21. @ Rudolph

    Thank you! I think it’s a great sign that it lines up with your experience — you too have been through the school of hard knocks.

    Trying to write it for my sister helped me write a more user friendly guide.

    @ Jason

    Thank you. You’ve been one of the most helpful sounding boards and inspirers throughout the process. You’re right — it was great having the advantage … too late now 😉

    @ JB

    Thank you!

    @ Kevin

    I guess I’m just no good at keeping secrets 🙂

    Thank you!

    @ Jannie

    Thank you!

    I love the way you dive right in and try new things out1

    You bet!

    @ Per

    Thank you!

    I owe a lot to you for pushing me to be my best and make others great. I’ll continue to help pass along the torch and inspire greatness.

    @ Ashish

    Thank you!

    “trademark style” … I like that 🙂

    I tried to make it as simple as possible, while making it as powerful as possible. It really can help folks reach new levels of great.

  22. @ Gandalfe

    I’ve been wondering about which traits help success. There are a few interesting books that shed light on this
    – What You Can Change and What You Can’t, by Martin Seligman
    – Tactics – The Art and Science of Success, by Edward de Bono

    @ Patricia

    Thank you!

    This is your month. Spring will be in the air and it’s time for renewal and results. I’ll share the best ways for making things happen throughout this month.

    @ Karl

    Thank you.

    I can promise you this book will give you an unfair advantage.

    The people that I’ve mentored with this approach have consistently changed their game and spun circles around others. My day job has been all about driving projects from cradle to grave and a by-product was learning extreme skills in getting results. It’s been amazing to see how a system unleashes people like wild fire.

    @ Alik

    Larry’s cool but I think I’ll have to give Oprah first dibs 😉

    You have been an amazing example of getting results. I’ve watched you instantly whip your work and life into shape and take Agile Results to new heights and in multiple dimensions. You’re unstoppable.

    @ Graham

    Thank you!

    @ Jenn

    Glad to have you aboard!

    You will enjoy this month. I will be sharing nuggets for getting results and I’ll create a glide-path for you.

    @ Jonathan

    Thank you!

    @ Jason

    Thank you — I’m just waiting for 3-D.

  23. Been watching the book and giving feedback on the book for sometime given that I have a keen interest in this . The concepts in the book have certainly helped me make large changes in my life. Interesting thing is that I’ve gone back and forth testing and yep, my older system sucks and this is much better. 🙂

    And the best part is the low barrier to entry. You don’t have to implement 20 things to see results. Even adopting only a single concept in the book helps. You can implement even just a few and work your way up over time.

  24. @ Rob

    You’ve been a great sounding board and you’ve really helped tune and prune Agile Results along the way. It’s been great to see your growth and I think you’ve really helped make Agile Results easier to adopt for many others.

  25. Hello JD,

    Wonderful and true statement: I’m a big believer that everybody can get great results if they have the right know-how.

    Looking forward to your book.

    Bye for now,
    Cheryl Paris

  26. JD, – Congratulations for writing a most timely and useful book that anyone can use for his/hers benefit. No matter the reasons explored,in the bottom line it is the results that finally count! The late Peter Drucker was generous enough to give me a great piece of advice before my lectures, something that I still value and teach myself: He told me in a very reassuring voice -“Mike, take it easy.Just concentrate on no more than 3 -things ,but cover them well.” That is how I discovered the magic number -3!
    I hope all your readers will find your book a true guide to worthwhile living and simple ideas to apply. Good luck!

  27. if the book turns out like the website – I’m going to need alot of sticky notes and book marks! every time I refer back to an article I find a link to another one that is a “must read”.

    Good work on this J.D. – looking forward to reading it all again on my commute to work.

  28. @ Cheryl

    Thank you. I’ve seen it time and again. I love when people step up to what they’re capable of.

    @ Michael

    Thank you. It sounds like Drucker lived the Rule of 3 and it’s great to hear that it worked so well for you.

    @ Richard

    Thank you! There’s more to come. It’s the start of the journey.

  29. JD,
    You book is a great example of working by design with amazing results.
    Thanks for sharing and being the first blog to read in my list every morning.

    Warmly
    Dror

  30. Hi all,
    In case anyone is following the comments, just wanted to share a couple of ways you can help lend your support for J.D.’s book and help us get the word out.

    If you’re interested, the book now has a Facebook fan page, Getting Results, as well as a Twitter account, @gettingresults.

    Thanks all!

  31. @ Dror

    Thank you! I like your point on “by design” … that really is the key in all this … having a system you can count on.

    @ Neelie

    Thank you!

Comments are closed.