Code Monkey
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Sprint Retrospective - September


The sprints go from the first Saturday of each month so some are slightly longer than others.


[P0] Key Result 1: Mindless Development

This was a pretty mindless sprint, by that I mean we did not focus on the correct P0s. In this case we worked on Mindless over the long weekend. We got NFC to work and validated it's viability. Thus, we decided to start committing code and getting something that was maintainable into the tree.

Turns out all the tech debt from previous iterations kind of came back to bite us. The server E2E tests weren't even running. Thus, it resulted in a lot of cleanup.

The progress status is we have a working temporary APP using NFC codes and a clean app that only has a login page. The server side needs cleanup and the client application needs a lot of work.

This was all done over the first long weekend. The second weekends we didn't work on this as we re-prioritized mid-sprint for reasons to be elaborated on in the review.

Unfortunately, less work was done here than we expected.

[P0] Key Result 2: Mindless Consistency ( Weekend 2/3 )

N/A Can't write about something that you haven't done ;).

[P0] Key Result 1: Execute on Critical Features

This ended up being the new focus of the sprint. Not because there was more work to do, more because productivity and effectiveness wasn't very high it resulted in one of the KR being cut.

Overall, this KR went as planned. As always, there is more to do. Either way I'm happy with the work we did manage to get done. Lets keep it up!

[P0] Key Result 1: Exercise - Maintain 3 times a week tennis

We blew this key result out of the water! We have continued to play tennis 3 times a week and even thrown in a few runs / yoga here and there. Furthermore, despite the tennis courts closing until EOY we found another tennis court to play at. Finally, we even played a 5 setter last Saturday which is the most tired I've ever been probably this whole year (note to self, need more electrolytes if you're going to play that long).

Amazing job on this KR dealing with changing environments and pushing above and beyond.

[P1] Key Result 3: Reading (Daily)

Routine was non-existent this sprint. This meant not daily reading.

[P1] Key Result 2: Food

Yup, with no routine comes no self control. A simple goal as no delivery did not go well either.

[P1] Key Result 4: Relationships

Another key result that we did well on! Maintained VC w/ friends and family and also increased the volume. It always seems strange to me talking about improving my relationships in such an objective way but I guess that's the whole point. Also have been putting more effort into chatting (virtually) to more people. Great job here!

[P1] Key Result 3: Reflecting

Hey, that's what I'm doing now! I'm marking this as done.

[P2] Key Result 4: Writing

Generalizing this to writing about something. I still want to write about Essentialism but I have yet to finish the book. Instead I wrote a post about elevators for some reason.

I'm still marking this as completed since the goal is just to get into the rhythm of writing. The content matters a little less.

[P0] Key Result 1: Exercise - one-off hike

Went on a hike yesterday! Walked for ~4 hours ~7.7 miles. Marking this as done! It was fantastic to be in nature and clear the mind.

[P2] Key Result 5: Stretch

Wasn't planned but have been doing more yoga and McGill Big 3 core work. Hopefully, when I get back into the gym I'll be able to focus on hitting 1000lb total without pain.

Things That Went Well


Exercise went really well this sprint. With gyms being closed I was worried I would not be able to find a consistent alternative. I'm glad I found a tennis partner and one that I can play with consistently.

Relationships are still going strong! It is very easy to isolate yourself during COVID. It takes more effort than usual to build connections and this is something that needs to be explicitly focused on.


I'm still going to call out work is going well. It is somewhat going well due to sacrificing other categories I think it's still good to call out. I'm always grateful that I enjoy work and work with talented people I can continue to learn from. I know this is a luxury that not everybody has so taking a step back and recognizing that you're in a very fortunate position is important.

This Sprint Planning

Having explicit goals and plans for the sprint made it so much easier to make trade-offs. Previously, I would have many things in my mind but now I can always pull up my plans and see if a decision aligns with them. Moving to a proactive mindset and away from a reactive one is always great.

Things That Could Have Gone Better


There was no explicit plan for routine. In fact we explicitly said we would not focus on it. Unfortunately, you can see the impact of this in the "important but not urgent" tasks. Things such as reading and working on mindless were forgotten. Furthermore, this had an impact on work as it left it to be driven by passion and intensity as opposed to consistency.

I went for a hike the other day and saw the humongous trees darting straight up into the sky. I also saw the roots of some of these trees were exposed to make way for the path. These roots are just as impressive as the tree itself. The foundations required to allow the tree to grow are immense. These foundations are not seen but are equally, or arguably more, important than the trunk itself growing upwards to reach the sunlight. Therefore, there needs to be a balance between growing upwards to reach your goals and focusing on developing your roots and foundation.

AI: Next sprint planning Routine is a priority. The foundation is key.

Lack of Lazer Focus

Having two P0s that both required similar skill sets and significant time was a mistake. There needs to be a single focus that consumes the mind throughout the sprint.

As an example, during my time not working, whether it be taking a shower or walking to the store, I occasionally think about problems. I found that I would sometimes think about Mindless and other times think about work. This may seem insignificant but it means that there are two competing problems in my brain trying to be solved. As I've written about a lot the context switching between those, even if subconscious, is costly.

We need to ensure that we have one major theme / goal for the sprint to keep my mind focused on that problem. Once we get more efficient at switching or have a more consistent routine we can start slotting in different types of work.

AI: Next sprint planning pick a theme and don't overlap goals in the same area.

Deep Work and Being Bored

The Digital Detox did not go well. By that I mean, I didn't do it at all. I could still feel my addiction to the digital world as I open up a browser and automatically type in or In any slight downtime, e.g. whilst I'm eating or walking downstairs, I will be scrolling through my twitter feed or watching a youtube video.

This hyper-connectedness made my work less efficient and gave me the sense of busyness. Instead of forming real connections I spent time watching youtube videos.

Don't get me wrong, there is time in life for play or to just switch off. However, these times need to be planned and there are richer forms of play than Netflix.

AI: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Still maintaining connection to these websites but deleting them off my phone. Digital Detox attempted again!


The goal of these sprint retrospective is less to say this sprint was great or this sprint was terrible but rather try to take a look from a non-judgmental perspective to see where slight improvements can be made. We don't expect every month to go perfectly as things come up and we have to adapt. However, we want to observe positive and negative trends.

Sprint planning is simply a tool for us not to fall into a state of autopilot. Doing things just because we always have. We need to focus on the areas that need attention and invest time into them since they aren't just going to fix themselves.

On-wards to sprint planning!