How do you keep track of the things you need to do?

How do know what to do next?

How does an agile team know?

An Agile team keeps a product backlog. The items (stories) on the backlog is prioritized. The team works on the things that are at the top of the list. They keep track of the things they need to do and they know what they need to do next.

We, as individual agilists, can do the same with the use of a personal backlog. We can keep the things that we, as individuals, need to keep track of for ourselves with this backlog. We can put anything we want on the backlog. It does not need to be stories or any other single thing. If we want, we do not have to show anyone our personal backlog. It is ours to manage as we see fit. Of course we should take into account the things we need to do according to any project plan that we are working to in our professional lives. But it can also contain all those things we, as agilists, know we should be doing. By using this personal backlog we can mix the things we must do with the things we know we should do and combine and mix and prioritize so that we can produce great results.

We can also mix personal things we need to do to this list. The most important thing we might need to do is call the doctor to make an appointment to have hat sore back checked out. Self help books have been telling us for decades to keep a to do list. By keeping a personal backlog we can apply the techniques we use to organize the work of a team to keep our own work in order.