Book review: Ultralearning by Scott H Young

Ultralearning by Scott H Young

Last week I returned to a book that I read four years ago, Ultralearning by Scott H Young.

In the book Young outlines an approach he claims can help anyone learn anything deeply and quickly.

With life continuing at such an incredible pace and technology changing all the time, I bought this book hoping that it might give me some insights into how to learn Spanish faster, learn the latest additions to CSS faster, learn… well, anything faster.

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Continually improving our work processes with retrospectives

On Monday, as the new scrum master on the Vision Tasks team in Dundee, I conducted my first retrospective with the team. In this post I want to share the model we used and why it can be an effective way of running sprint retrospectives.

No process is perfect. Your team is unique, as are the situations you encounter, and they change all the time. You must continually update your process to match your changing situations. Retrospectives are a great tool for doing so.

— The Art of Agile Development by James Shore and Shane Warden (O’Reilly, 2008)

Agile principles

One of the principles behind Agile is that “at regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.” (Source: Principles behind the Agile manifesto.)

This is about continuous improvement. It’s about slowly but surely getting better at what we do. It’s about recognising that our processes are not perfect, that we are not perfect, but that together we will slowly work to improve things. The Japanese have a word for this: kaizen (改善), which means “change for better” or “improvement”.

The Tasks team runs a two-week sprint from Monday to the following Friday. First thing on a Monday morning we review the last sprint and then retrospectively examine how it went: what went well, what didn’t, what can we learn from it and how can we make things better this coming sprint?

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