I’m turning my family into a scrum team

There is always a lot of things happening in my house.

I’m a married, Dad of five girls aged between two and thirteen. The girls attend three different schools, two do sailing, two do gymnastics. We’re halfway through the rennovation of a hundred and forty year old property that needed top to bottom work in every single one of its 11 rooms. And I work for a living an hour away from home in a software business and commute by train.

As an example, the logistics of a typical Saturday might look something like this:

6am Everyone awake

7am Breakfast

9am-10am Take №4 to gymnastics

11am-1pm Take No.s 3&4 to a party

12pm-2pm №5 has a nap

2pm-3pm Take №3 to gymnastics

5pm Dinner

6pm Reading with No.s 3 & 4

7pm Bedtime for No.s 3,4,&5

9pm Bedtime for №1&2

To manage this amount of activity it takes planning and flexibility.

To get through this much and do be able to handle the chores like washing, ironing, shopping, cooking, gardening etc… you need a daily plan. To get through all this, plus the chores, plus the house renovation you need an agile framework for delivery.

Luckily for me (maybe unlucky for my family) I’m trained in agile software development and the framework for delivery applies itself nicely to the ongoing challenges of family life.

We have a magnetic whiteboard attached to the front of our fridge (effectively a daily Kanban board) and every day you’ll find up to a dozen tasks that need to be picked up and completed by members of the ‘team’. Food shopping, strip beds, dust the lounge, №3’s homework. It could be anything. All of which need to be wiped off (done) by the end of the day.

Alongside the fridge you can see the calendar covering all the ‘deadlines’ that we need to work around.

Every Sunday we manage to get a full family meal during which we look at the week ahead and see who’s doing what (sprint planning and agreeing our goals). We discuss who has what they need to do, and what they’d want to do, and get an understanding of what we have to fit into our week (our sprint).

Everyone contributes to getting the tasks done. №3 might be on recycling, №4 on toilet roll monitoring, and even two year old №5 might get to bring her bedding down from her cot for washing.

We’ve not quiet got to the level of having a retrospective yet, but mainly because all we’ll get is moaning about how ‘life isn’t fair’ and why should they have to do all the jobs!

The answer to these moans is of course that in a ‘team’ of our size everyone needs to contribute towards the ’team goals’. That’s how we can get so much done.

Can you bring more agility to your family?

Written by

Helping people kick start their product management career at gettingstartedinproduct.com * Product person at Watchfinder

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