30 Day Improvement Sprints

I'm using 30 day improvement sprints as a way to sharpen my skills.  I pick a focus to work on and I committ to improving it for a 30 day timebox.  Committing to 30 days of improvement in a focused area, is easier to swallow than changing for life.  However, improving an area for 30 days, is actually life changing.

With 30 days, persistence and time are on my side.  It's a big enough time box that I can try different techniques, while building proficiency.  Using 30 days makes working through hurdles easier too.  A lot of the hurldles I hit in my first week, are gone by week 2.  Little improvements each day, add up quickly.  I look back on how many things I tried for a week and stopped thinking I hadn't made progress.  The trick was, I didn't get to week 2 to see my results.  Lesson learned!

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Comments (12)

  1. Josh Maher says:

    Interesting idea….what kinds of tips do you have on techniques to make 30 day sprints more effective?

  2. waletzky says:

    I’d also love to see some examples of some things you have improved upon using this technique, and how you measured success? Was it a gut feel improvement, or were there some kind of improvement measures? It is important to reflect back on the 30 days and see where you made improvements and where other possible improvements came to light.

  3. J.D. Meier says:

    Good question Josh!  I thought it warranted a full post: How To Make 30 Day Improvement Sprints More Effective: http://blogs.msdn.com/jmeier/archive/2007/03/10/how-to-make-30-day-improvement-sprints-more-effective.aspx

  4. J.D. Meier says:

    I’ve used this for a few things.  For example, I used it to change my body (30 Days of Living Foods Ends: http://blogs.msdn.com/jmeier/archive/2007/03/09/30-days-of-living-foods-ends-today.aspx).  I used it to improve my voice and breathing.  I’m in the process of using it to improve productivity skills including MindMapping, Camtasia recording, and DragonSpeak.   Pretty soon, I’ll be kicking up a blog improvement sprint.   I’ve been measuring success both in terms of improving my skill and in terms of improving my learning process.  For example, in a previous workout sprint, I decided I would bench press 270 lbs within 3 weeks.  I overlly focused on the results vs. the process and messed up my shoulder.  Now I’m optimizing around incremental gains and focusing on form and technique.  It’s a world of difference.  I enjoy the smaller improvements add up over the big bang.  Ironically, the small improvements are the big bang in disguise!

  5. Here’s some quick blogging tips I shared with a colleague, that they found helpful: Have a purpose or

  6. RSS It All says:

    The secret to time management isn't more time management hacks at all. Here's the keys I've

  7. Why 30 Day Improvement Sprints ? I get asked this often enough that I think I should distll the keys:

  8. Scrum has come of age. Not only it is entering the mainstream of modern software development, but it

  9. What is your life frame?  What are the key buckets in your life that you need to balance across? 

  10. Each month I pick a focus or a theme for my improvement sprint.  I find it’s easier to start and

  11. At Microsoft, I regularly mentor some fellow softies.   It can be tough to navigate the waters,

  12. Justin says:



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