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Every Day Agile

by Paul McLaughlin, on Nov 7, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Accelare - Every Day AgileIf we’ve never met, you wouldn’t know it, and even some of those who I have met aren’t fully aware of the challenges I face. I have significantly impaired vision and am legally blind. My condition developed while I was in college and is still undiagnosed. When I entered freshman year my vision was normal, but by the middle of my sophomore year, I could no longer read normal print, drive a car, or see the faces of anyone outside a 6-foot radius. For me, giving up and feeling sad for myself was not an option- I adapted. My entire way of life and learning had to change, but who I was, at my core, remained the same. My books went from paperbacks to boxes of cassette tapes (yes, those still existed in the mid-2000’s), but I was still a curious, engaged, and active contributor to class.

How did I respond to a debilitating loss of vision? - by following a self-disciplined approach to setting long term goals, developing short-term plans to accomplish those goals, and by identifying and resolving impediments well before they became immovable obstacles. Building a support network was also integral in my success. By following this “system,” I was able to graduate with honors from a Top 25 university, worked for a multi-billion-dollar consumer goods corporation, and receive an MBA from a highly respected institution. Upon earning my master’s degree, I joined Accelare, a small but distinguished consulting firm. I was then introduced to a methodology called Agile Scrum. The principles of this approach mirrored my own life-efforts:

  • Set goals
  • Divide those goals into more manageable objectives
  • Identify and remove impediments
  • Achieve, and repeat.

Join me as I explore the parallels between my challenges and those challenges that face businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. In particular, future posts will look at:

  • The balance between humility and confidence
  • The absolute necessity of a support network, and
  • The importance of metamorphosis

I will strive to incorporate both personal stories and experiences from the business world. For me, changes in my day-to-day life were made out of necessity, and while slightly different, I believe the same need for adaptability could be made for a multitude of businesses- I’d like to make that case.