Now that both my wife and I are at home, we find ourselves busy with work but there are a lot of things that need to get done around the house. I’m lucky enough that my wife is a software engineer and we speak the same “engineering” talk. This special communication that we share made us realize something recently. We are already practicing the Pomodoro technique with our kids, why not start implementing agile at home as well. I proposed that rather then arguing about who does what and when things get done, we should treat our daily schedules and responsibilities like an Agile project. If you just read this statement and are wondering what I’m talking about, stick with me here for a second. Let me explain the basics of Agile and then I’ll show you how we are incorporating it into our household.
What is Agile
Agile, in a nutshell, is basically a methodology to do work, but it allows you to adapt, learn, and pivot quickly. It’s based on an idea that you perform work for a short duration of time and then reflect, pivot, and then start over with that newfound knowledge. The way you actually do it though is to utilize a little something called Kanban. And here is where the magic really happens.
Kanban is an idea that you take all the work that needs to be done and you track it by using a work in progress board . . or most commonly known as WIP. You take all the tasks that need to be completed and then assign them to individuals.
Getting Started with Agile @ Home
Start by finding a flat surface somewhere in your house where you can post all the activities. We are using a whiteboard, but you can use a wall or a different dedicated board.
Create three vertical lanes to signify work that is To Do, In Progress, and Done. We want to be able to exchange tasks with other members of our household, so we also created horizontal lanes to help keep track of who is responsible for each task.
Next, identify all the tasks that need to be completed and write them down on stickies. Put everything in the To Do column at the beginning of your week.
As the week progresses, each individual is responsible for moving their work across the board.
As an added bonus, we all go out for ice cream if everyone finishes all of their tasks by the end of the week.
And that’s it. Every Sunday night, we reset and we start over on Monday. It helps if you have a recurring task to make multiple stickies and give them a date to help set them apart.
I highly recommend you try this method out. It teaches your kids responsibilities and it might even improve your relationship with your spouse. A common issue we had in my house was that everyone knew things needed to get done, but there was no clear indication of who was responsible and thus no accountability. Having this board in our house has made a tremendous impact on our communication and our expectations of each other.
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