A Year Later: Living with the Rockefeller Habits

28 January 2009

By Darrell Heaps

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push-rock.jpgOk, it’s been almost a year but nonetheless, this is officially the 2nd year into implementing the Rockefeller Habits at Q4.  We kicked off our annual and Q1 2009 priorities yesterday with the whole company and now that we’ve gone through the process a few times we seem to be much more efficient at it.

I think what I enjoy most about the process for implementing the Rockefeller Habits is that it’s actually very similar to using Agile processes for developing software:

  1. Focus on the highest value items first
  2. Make progress on those items
  3. Have a retrospective
  4. Find new (and usually more difficult) problems
  5. Repeat 1 – 4 often

For us, seeing a problem as an opportunity for improvement is the key. At the end of each quarter we get together and brainstorm what problems popped up during the quarter and then we widdle them down to which ones we can address the next quarter.

This exercise is usually the most emotionally draining but the mood improves very quickly when those problems are turned into solutions. This is the 4th consecutive quarter we’ve gone through this exercise and it was interesting to see how the complexity of the priorities increased as the quarters went by.

The very nature of Scrum is to constantly improve by having retrospectives at the end of each sprint.  The Team talks about what went well, what didn’t go well and what they want to try during the next sprint. We’ve proven it’s been effective in our development teams so we decided our #1 priority this quarter is to extend the use of Scrum principles to the rest of the departments within the company.

After living with the Rockefeller Habits for a year, I can say without a doubt that the process works.  Everyone rallies around the priorities and collaborates on solutions that help remove waste and increase efficiency across all departments.  I would be interested to hear your thoughts about how you’ve used similar processes in your company or if you have questions about some tactics we use to keep this process running smoothly.

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