Friday, January 15, 2010

Ritual Question

It's easy to make tasks into habits over time. For example, our team stands up every day at about 9:30 am and talks about what we've done and what we're doing. It's similar to a SCRUM standup. When we started it was a little odd, but over time we got the hang of it and we have a rhythm. Now it's a daily ritual.

This is great for us. We get a view into what each of us is working on. There's a chance to crow about some really cool thing we did. A struggle or frustration becomes apparent and can be noticed so it can be handled after the meeting.

Sometimes, though, updates start to get sketchy. "I'm working on the frobble, still going." Or "I did this awesome thing!" (response: mumbles). Has our ritual turned into just a meaningless ritual?

Every so often - once every 3 months or so - it's useful to ask if the ritual has purpose, or if it has become rote. But over time, are we really getting things out of it? Is this 5 or 10 minutes still valuable? After all, if it's useless, we should stop, or change things.

Identify your rituals and your routines, and make it a point to ask yourself periodically if it's still serving a purpose, and if that purpose is valuable. Sometimes it's better to stop than to let your rituals go stale.

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