12 Principles of Agile Adapted – Principle #8

Ah sustainability…that is what principle #8 focuses on. Not exactly the “green” kind of sustainability, but the kind where you can go at a pace and not be worn out.

Principle #8 says:

Agile processes promote sustainable development. 
The sponsors, developers, and users should be able 
to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

This is an important one for me. I’ve spent a lot of my life as a working mom with a high-pressure job and an active kid. Burn out is a real possibility and something I’ve battled on multiple occasions. It is hard to bounce back from that feeling of burn out and it is quite depressing. As a result of my experiences, I have always taken this to heart with my teams. I also take this to heart with my family.

Last year my daughter was a junior in high school. This was the most stressful year of her life. Between AP classes, SAT testing, driver’s ed, college visits, and varsity athletics she was going at full speed the entire school year. To say she was burned out at the end of the year is an understatement. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but I still wish that we had taken a closer look at all that she was taking on and had her drop a few things. She spent most of the summer recovering from her junior year. That is why I was insistent that we look at what she can drop going into her senior year. My daughter is the kind of person who wants to do everything so it wasn’t easy to convince her not to, but as I see her grades and her overall mental health so far this year, I am confident that we are not on the road to another burn out.

I have also been working on letting myself do less. It is surprisingly not an easy thing to do without guilt, but I feel it is important to my mental and physical health. I am sleeping better and feeling happier.

The Agile IRL interpretation of this principle is:

An agile mindset promotes a focus on good mental and physical health therefore a life lived at a sustainable pace.