Ready Aim Fire – A Practical Guide to Setting And Achieving Goals (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014)

Ready Aim Fire is the first in a series of productivity books from Eric Fisher and Jim Woods. In this volume, we learn about priorities and goal setting. At first glance this books like it is for those who are looking to organize their lives. Or even for people looking to put some discipline around their thinking. However, after digging a bit deeper, this book is well suited for scrum teams that need to focus on their products and how to bring them to market.

Fisher and Woods put an emphasis on knowing what you want to do and how you plan on getting there. They use probing questions like: “What is the smallest piece you can finish and feel good about? and “What is the minimum daily requirement needed for your project to move forward?” to help team break down big tasks in to smaller ones.

The attention to prioritization would make most scrum product owners proud:

Often there is a disconnect between what you think your priorities are and what you spend your time doing. You can name God and family as priorities, but if you spend all of your time watching TV, what are your real priorities?

Scrum teams will find a lot to like in this books as it is a step by step guide on aligning goals to priorities. Continually reflecting on your progress is encouraged, as is breaking down your goals in to achievable tasks. A key step in defining your priorities is asking others for their perception of what your priorities are. There’s a lot for agile teams in this book to agree with.

The approach that Fisher and Woods recommend is very similar to a scrum sprint. The scrum team comes together and sets a sprint goal, which is aligned to product goals. From there a product backlog is refined and stories are selected for the sprint. After the sprint ends, the team evaluates the results, reflects on the process, and begins again.

While Fisher and Woods likely set out to create a guide for individuals looking to be more productive, they have also provided an excellent guide for scrum teams to use to better understand how to set goals that align to the priorities of the product they are building.

“Ready Aim Fire – A Practical Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals” is highly recommended.

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