So What Exactly is Personal Agility Anyway?
Updated: Mar 19, 2021
A well-designed personal agility framework can be a great tool to help you clarify your goals and better focus your time and energy on what matters most.
Before moving forward…
Our mission at Cobiant Capital™ is to help others do more of what matters and become financially free so they can live life on their terms. We partner with busy professionals, visionaries and dreamers that haven’t found fulfillment in their current career and are determined to make a shift to something that lights their fire. We are passionate about leveraging agility and passive investing to help others live an intentional life. The Cobiant Personal Agility Framework™ was created specifically for the Cobiant Capital™ audience and therefore speaks directly to those of similar mindset.
With that being said, allow me to provide some context and speak to how we ended up here.
Agile is a well-known, lightweight framework popular primarily within Information Technology (IT) circles. It has been implemented more and more by organizations around the world since the early 2000s. When executed correctly the organization can shift priorities quickly, adapt effectively to changing market conditions and produce better quality products. Additionally, the organization doesn’t waste time and effort building things that their customers would never buy or actually use.
The development team is clear on the priorities of the business and are allowed the freedom to make decisions together on how to build assets that meet business goals. Team members execute only a limited number of activities at once. The development team typically completes things that matter most to the business first; especially those that can be made available to the customer quickly. At various points along the way, the business along with the development team, hold retrospectives, celebrate wins, work to remove any roadblocks that might slow things down and shift priorities as needed.
The result is the organization outputs what matters most to their customers in essentially half the time with half the effort.
Agile at Scale
Sometime around the early 2010s, larger enterprises began to learn of the advantages that Agile was providing to smaller organizations. Soon Scaled Agile Frameworks such as SAFe, LeSS and others began to emerge that aimed to meet the needs of large corporations, non-profits and government agencies. That is to say, they began to create or enhance their own version of a Scaled Agile Framework built on traditional Agile. In effect, they designed a framework that extended beyond a single team up through, what SAFe1 considers, the Program (i.e., multiple teams), Large Solution (i.e., multiple programs) and Portfolio (i.e., multiple solutions) levels. Most Scaled Agile Frameworks leverage principles of Agile, Scrum, Kanban and Lean in an effort to solve the problems associated with agility at scale.
Today you will find companies including Google, SpaceX, Tesla, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Accenture, FitBit, Bank of America, MetLife, Bosch, Siemens, Capital One, PepsiCo, Fannie Mae, Northwestern Mutual and many more leveraging Scaled Agile Frameworks in order to better compete in the marketplace.
1 For advocates of other Scaled Agile Frameworks, we understand that the grouping of teams may be labeled differently, however the concept is still the same. They each start with a single team, group teams of teams together and may even group teams of teams of teams to effectively pull potentially thousands of people together to accomplish big things.
Personal Agility is very new; with the earliest mention of it that we could find being sometime around 2018. Much like the Scaled Agile Framework, Personal Agility is built on traditional Agile. But, instead of scaling up to support teams of teams and beyond, it is designed for the individual and can be used in most any context. Scaling up requires a larger scope of processes and greater complexity than traditional Agile. On the other hand, Personal Agility is less complicated and more streamlined. It offers the positive results we find with other forms of Agile but is instead designed for people like you to use in their daily lives.
Why Personal Agility?
If you are disciplined and implement Personal Agility properly in your life, you will be positioned to effectively and purposefully utilize your time outside of your “day job” to focus on what truly matters to you. You can begin to take steps to launch your new career and eventually shift away from your old. Note, implementing Personal Agility while also Passively Investing in Real Estate Syndications can help you reach your goals even faster.
Cobiant Personal Agility Framework™
Existing Personal Agility frameworks aren’t well established and, in our opinion, don’t fully satisfy the needs of the Cobiant Capital™ audience. The founder of Cobiant Capital & Agile Revolution, with more than two decades of experience in IT, including a decade as an Agilist, Agile Coach and Trainer for several Fortune 500 companies, decided to develop a customized framework to meet the needs of our specific audience. Unlike professional consultants that can charge hundreds of dollars per hour for training and coaching services, Cobiant Capital™ offers FREE training to everyone via our eBook, Blog and Podcast as well as FREE coaching to all members of the Cobiant Investor Network™.
The Cobiant Personal Agility Framework™ is rooted in traditional Agile, but also includes elements acquired from Scaled Agile as well as various personal productivity and self-development resources. Our framework is designed to enable you to compare your actions to your goals at regular intervals. Doing so will help you make sure your efforts remain aligned with your personal vision, that you only execute tasks that will help you reach your goals the fastest and to stop when additional effort brings you no further benefit.
If you don’t feel like you have any extra time, we show you how to carve out time you never thought available. We will help you define clearly what it is that you want to do and how to measure your progress. The time you spend will be focused intently and efficiently on what will get you out of the rat race and on the path to your dreams. It is time to feel passionate again about doing something that truly matters to YOU. Now, let’s dig into some of the key concepts behind the framework.
Congratulations! You made the decision to live life on your terms and are ready to do what it takes to make your dreams come true. Now is the time to consider the problems you will need to solve to make that happen. Thinking through the obstacles will support you in the next step of the process.
Before moving forward, you will need to understand how to structure your goals and workload within the Personal Agility framework. Launching a business or starting a new career and walking away from another while still honoring your existing responsibilities, maintaining an acceptable financial lifestyle and continuing to build your retirement portfolio is no small endeavor. To be successful in making such a significant change in your life you will need a way to structure your work from the largest objectives to the smallest of details. You will need to stick to your plan, track your progress along the way and respond to change as needed. Your Vision along with Agile Epics, Stories and Tasks will provide the structure you need to do just that.
Your desired future state described in written or visual form. It often describes what you would like to achieve over the long-term, or it could simply yet clearly describe what matters most to you as a person. A well-defined vision can serve as a valuable guide when making decisions.
· Live a life of adventure
An Epic describes a measurable goal. It represents a large body of work that can be broken down into a number of objectives called Stories. Epics should always align with your personal Vision.
· Trip to Nepal
A Story2 describes an objective, requirement or small project written from your personal perspective that usually contributes to the completion of an Epic. Stories briefly describe what you want to do and why you want to do it. A Story should be written in a way that will help you estimate the work needed to complete the objective.
· Flight Booked
The smallest decomposed step required to complete a Story. Tasks should be outcome oriented and since they describe an action they often begin with a verb.
· Send for an Uber to take me to the airport
A lightweight visual system for managing work as it moves from ideation through completion. Kanban Boards use cards to represent various work items and columns to represent each stage of the process.
· Quarterly Kanban Board
· Weekly Kanban Board
Relationship Between Stories and Epics
In some ways Stories and Epics in Personal Agility are similar to stories and epics in literature. A story includes a single, simple narrative while a series of related and interdependent stories form an epic. The same is true for the management of your work. The completion of related Stories leads to the completion of an Epic. The Stories tell the arc of the work completed while the Epic speaks to a larger, higher-level goal that aligns with your personal Vision.
Several tasks could be required to complete a Story and should be sized small enough that you could complete one or more each day. A Story should be sized so that it takes no longer than a week or two to complete. Typically, you would never commit to more than a few Stories over the course of a single week. Epics should be sized much larger with the expectation that no more than two or three would be completed each quarter.
Agile is a framework not a methodology. Although the sizing guidelines included above reflect a proven standard, they should not be considered sizing rules per se. Stretch and shrink if needed for your particular situation, but just be sure to adopt a set of sizing guidelines and stick to them. But be aware if you stray too far from the proven guidelines your planning and execution could be negatively impacted.
2 Technically speaking, both traditional and scaled Agile frameworks label these as a “User Story”. The reason being, within a business context, it’s possible to have a large domain of possible users that the story could be addressing (e.g., a user accessing our web portal, an account holder, a recruiter, a manager, etc.). Therefore, when organizations adopt Agile, each User Story’s description must define the user. In contrast, within the context of Personal Agility, the user is almost always YOU. Therefore, “Story” is the better label here.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.
Want to learn more?
We welcome you to reach out to us at Cobiant Capital™ if you have any questions related to Passive Investing or how you can implement Personal Agility in your life. Apply now to join the Cobiant Investor Network™ if you are interested in generating passive cash flow while building for retirement as a passive investor in our real estate syndications. Finally, be sure to check out our FREE eBook to discover how to implement our proven tools so you can begin to live your best life starting today.
Are you ready to live Life on YOUR Terms?
Let’s make it happen!
About the Author
Christopher is Managing Principle and Director of Investor Relations at Cobiant Capital™, a real estate company specializing in multifamily investing throughout the United States. He is also creator of the Cobiant Personal Agility Framework™, author of the popular eBook Life on YOUR Terms and host of the Transformation Artist podcast.
As founder of Cobiant Capital™ he partners with busy professionals, visionaries and dreamers motivated to become financially free and driven to live life of their terms. Christopher helps investors grow their wealth and achieve significant returns by investing alongside him and his team in exclusive multifamily real estate deals. As Managing Principle of Agile Revolution he trains and advises business leaders across the Americas, Europe and Asia on how their organization can implement agile and lean principles to transform their company for the better.
Christopher is passionate about leveraging agility and passive investing to help others live an intentional life.