How do you do more with less?

KanBan board

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/blambar/5392387797/sizes/m/in/photostream/

As a leader, parent, spouse, and teacher, the demands on our lives seem to be increasing.   How do we do more with less?

In conversation I had with Vicki Davis( aka coolcatteacher ) this weekend, she introduced me to the connection between a project management style known as agile and education. (see white paper for more details)   Since I work as an agile coach in my job, I was instantly excited about exploring this topic more.

When I learn a new topic, I instantly search for the “WHY” in the content.   In my personal life, I am already doing a LOT of work as parent and professional.   Why should I invest my time in learning how to make my life more agile?  My days are already long enough!  To give a simple answer,  we want our daily efforts to focus on results and great teaching while respecting the professional bounds of our lives.  I personally feel that great teachers shouldn’t be over worked.    Over working our teachers is not sustainable.

Here are 5 key principles behind agile that you can use to get more results today!

  1. Eliminate waste – Let’s find ways to cut out steps or processes that are not needed.
  2. Amplify learning – Consider dividing your semester into two week iterations.  Try to take notes every two weeks about what behaviors worked REALLY well.  What behaviors did not work well?   What can we remove from our teaching processes?  Create a personal learning network for yourself.
  3. Empower the team – Do I have a community of peers to help me get better at my craft of teaching?   Do we share ideas?  Are there ways that I can empower my students to learn on their own?  If I set clear and achievable learning results or goals, can I empower my students to learn a topic in their own way?
  4. Build integrity in – This is huge! How do we teach character and integrity?
  5. See the whole – How often do we step back and look at the big picture?
As a disclaimer, I have to confess that I am software engineer.   So, this blog post may be a bit academic.   In my role as a parent, leader and builder of software, I have to continuously learn and get better.   I am not a professional educator, but I have to be a teacher.   I hope you can see that our worlds do have a common core of continuous learning.
The common connection between leadership and professional education is continuous learning and teaching.
Let’s get the conversation going.   What went REALLY well in the past two weeks?  What improvement opportunities are you excited about?
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