The Agile Family

Bonjour tout le monde,

When I wrote the title to this post, I immediately had the Addams family theme song jump into my head. So…enjoy!

Ever since I first encountered agile practices, I’ve been intrigued by them. For the most part, development teams who strive to be agile are more cohesive and get things done quickly. If only everything could be done efficiently like that…

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My wife (Jen), son and I are, for the most part, pretty lackluster about cleaning and other house-related chores. We get it done on a fairly regular basis, and pretty much only when we can’t push it off any further. One of our biggest issues is that one person keeps doing the same activities often, gets burned out and then doesn’t want to do it anymore. Another issue is that there’s not enough communication, so if work is done by someone else, we may not notice and think we’re doing all the chores by our self. These lead to a lack of motivation and a drop in family morale, which is just not good.

The other day, I was listening to Hanselminutes and heard the episode with David Starr about agile families. It was an intriguing episode, and gave me some ideas to help kick off an agile system without making it seem so ‘business-y’.

So, I brought the idea up to Jen and we started planning.

We already had a corkboard where we would put up any documents that needed a lot of attention, as well as key hooks so we’d always have an excuse to look at the board every day. With a very slight amount of modification (a lot of thumb tacks and small pieces of paper) we created a swim-lane board. The horizontals were our names, the verticals were the stages in which the chores were in (To Do, Doing and Done) and a small top corner for backlog stuff. This should eliminate the communication problem, as we’ll be doing daily standups, weekly iteration planning meetings and retros.

This time, we just stuck the work items up there. However, after this iteration, we’re going to do a random pick-out-of-the-hat, so that it’ll always be random and no one will be stuck with the same chores for too long. This should break down the monotony of it and make it a bit more engaging.

As time goes by, I’ll know if it works or not, and will do post on results. The only information I have at the moment is that when my son was done with one of his chores, he came and asked me if there’s anything that he should do on one of the other chores that was in both of our swim-lanes (some chores he can’t do on his own, so my wife and I decided to help him with some). That’s definitely a promising result in my mind.

Merci pour la lecture!
(I’m part French (:)

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