I wanted to revisit goals. Or the product goal to be precise.
Product goal is the guiding vision for the product that you are building using Scrum. You have to have a product to use Scrum. Doing Scrum without building a product is just going through some random motions without there being any real sense why you are doing it. The trick is that with Scrum the product can be anything: a software, a service, a process. Or as in this case: a life.
Product goal describes the future of the thing being built. It's the distillation of the product's final form.
The problem in this case is that goals might not be a great way to manage a life. According to James "atomic habits"Clear, identities are a better starting point.
There are a ton of ways how a life management goal can be invalidated. For example if it seems that attaining the goal will be much harder than you anticipated, deciding that the goal isn't interesting to you anymore can be tempting. "Sour, said the fox about rowan berries." Not to mention the trouble if you actually happen to reach your goal. Are you happy then? What will you be left with? Maybe it's better not to have to find out?
In contrast, identities are harder to abandon or throw away. For example consider the identity of being a kind person and compare it to the goal of volunteering two days a week for some benevolent cause. Even if you are very busy with family and work and everything, you can still continue being kind and trying to become better at it and it will feel important. On the other hand the goal of volunteering just has to be scrapped if it's not possible at this moment for whatever reason. In the worst case scenario the scrapped goal might leave you with nothing but disappointment.
Summa summarum, I don't want a goal for my product goal, I want an identity.
Following this idea I formulated a bunch of identities I want to embody. I'll share a few of the identities I picked here as examples.
Scrum master: professionally I'll concentrate on leaning towards mastery of Scrum and helping others use it. This is a pretty distinct choice that holds quite a few unknowns for me. Earlier I have been more of an general agile methodology proponent, product owner and a consultant, but now I want to concentrate on Scrum. This comes with the potential cost of passing over general project management work and avoiding being just "generally" agile and risking being ridiculed by the "Scrum is dead" crowd.
Writer: I'll channel my creative side into being a writer. I've concentrated earlier very much on music, dabbled with photography etc. but for the next stretch of time I'll work on improving as a writer and also publishing (releasing?) enough text so I'll be identified as a writer by others as well. For example I have a half finished novel about product ownership that I'll start working on actively again and will also generally pay attention on how to improve my writing skills.
For this scrumlife project I think you have to choose a smaller product than a whole life. So for starters I'll begin with half a year. My product goal therefore is to improve through the rest of 2022 as a scrum master and a writer. Everything on my backlog should serve this purpose.
Thinking of product goals is truly inspiring. Exactly like great [sprint goals] are inspiring (https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/myth-having-sprint-goal-optional-scrum) but even more so. (I really recommend the linked article btw. It's very very good.)
The problem is that in many normal situations the product goal might seem like a solved problem to begin with:
"We need a new budgeting software."
"Customer needs a new time tracking solution."
It still might be worth it to always think what the real goal should be.
Here in Finland everyone knows Kone manufactures elevators. But instead of talking about building elevators, Kone's mission is to improve the flow of urban life.
Building elevators is just a step in doing that.
Product goals should be as cool, always.