There’s a word, huh?
I’ve been looking more into the world of Agile and the methodology that has defined my work for the last 10 years since I read a book about Scrum.
And in it, there are things called Epics.
Revered technology company Atlassian refer to it thus:
An agile epic is a body of work that can be broken down into specific tasks (called “stories,” or “user stories”) based on the needs/requests of customers or end-users.
They go on to say
Creating an Agile Epic
When creating a new epic consider other planning and organization tools your team may already have in place. Creating epics around a team’s quarterly goals or OKRs is a great start. When creating an epic, consider the following:
Reporting — Create epics for the projects that managers and executives will want to keep an eye on.
Storytelling — Use epics, and the stories that roll up into them, as a mechanism to tell the story of how you arrived at the current state of a feature or product.
Culture — Let organizational culture dictate the size and granularity of an epic.
Time — Most development teams rely on estimation frameworks instead of time, but it’s a worthwhile gut check to make sure your epics will take a couple of weeks to complete. Not too long and not too short.
And it reflected some recent work and past work with clients who had HUGE challenges; big programmes of change to deliver and some very tough situations to navigate through to a more productive, positive and purposeful outcome and way of being.
And it was those stories that were told; yet to unfold and at the heart of what might come that were absolutely compelling in wanting to do the work with the client that in most cases, came to something really good.
I am working on an #epic story of my own — the story of a small micro-consulting business in HR, OD and Change that is captivating me.
Most people who know me know I love my work; to the point that some people have put me in the “weird workaholic” bucket and don’t want anything to do with me. Or the bandwagoner jumper or whatever.
I’m actually past caring although my past writing on this platform will bear testament that it wasn’t easy to get past disdain, rejection and being dropped from groups, chats and circles.
See it’s not weird to want to be part of your own #epic.
In fact, Thinkers 50 member Nilofer Merchant would say it’s your #Onlyness that is your #epic. #Onlyness is when you centre on that spot in the world that is all about you, uniquely you, only you.
By virtue of that, and a realisation that we are in ourselves a living story — much of which we have no idea what the future chapters will be like — we can not only feel like life takes us along and we’re merely passengers in the train of existence; but that we’re the storytellers, designers, observers, animators and directors of our life’s story. Our #epic.
Of course, #epic can also be in a series of events or a one-of-a-kind incident that is so good, you would call it an #epic.
I’ve had one of those #epic experiences this week.
- A new #TeamPTHR member (Emily Woolgar);
- An amazing onboarding experience created by the existing #TeamPTHR member (Broch Cleminson);
- A chance to pitch for a truly #epic piece of work with an #epic organisation;
- Some #epic news on other pieces of work coming up;
- Outstanding, #epic feedback from a workshop Broch and I delivered last week for a fantastic client;
- The realisation that there is an #epic pipeline of potential projects;
- A really compelling and #epic vision for the future of the PTHR business model and impact on the world;
- An #epic Skype call with said Nilofer Merchant about a forthcoming collaboration;
- An engaging and provoking event with Stuart Hearn’s Clear Review Team
- A wonderful conversation with our friends Buurtzorg Britain & Ireland about some exciting opportunities;
- Getting some amazing feedback on an #epic piece of work done the other week for the CIPD
- Planning something exciting for the #epic Meaning conference team;
- Filming an audition for some exciting learning ventures that will hopefully be an #epic programme of work; and
- A string of #epic conversations with people about forthcoming possibilities.
Now that’s all in one week. An #epic week if ever there was one.
Is #epic overstated? Not where this week’s concerned.
Is #epic repeatable? It is — it’ll be different but #epic isn’t a one-time-only ride in life.
Is #epic something you should set out to achieve? Not necessarily. It’s the experience and impact that becomes #epic. It’s a consequence of hard work; good fortune; circumstances; conditions; alignment; hunches followed; evidence and decision-making; and a lot more.
I don’t expect next week to be #epic.
What I will say is this.
Don’t shy away from #epic things.
There are #epic stories in Agile for a reason and there are #epic things possible for everyone. It’s all a matter of context, environment, situation.
Is #epic the new Bill & Ted’s Excellent?
It may well be, but after quite a while of soul searching, slightly withdrawn and even mildly wounded ways about life, I’m letting this #epic feeling, warmth and stimulus stick around for as long as is possible.
I don’t think there’s a limit to how much I can tolerate #epic things happening for those people, things and circumstances I care most about (and for me of course).
Don’t be afraid to gently and enthusiastically share your #epic story for when the next time comes that things are a bit unepic, you might need a little support or reasoning, knowing how much you enjoyed your #epic interlude; but don’t overdo the exuberance about it and the humble sharing of your enthusiasm for good things happening in life.
If we want to get a little better at managing our more fragile moments, we might need a shot of #epic to give us the energy, belief and wisdom to navigate any troubled waters until our next #epic island of discovery.
Enjoy your next #epic story.