Our First Family Sprint

Our first family sprint went better than expected, especially for my difficult tween, Evan. We may not have found the perfect way to do our housework, but it was new and different and exciting.

“Our first family sprint went better than expected, especially for my difficult tween, Evan. We may not have found the perfect way to do our housework, but it was new and different and exciting.”

-The Scrum Mom

On day one, Evan was cruising through his tasks. He came downstairs on his own, looked at the sprint board, and found the jobs that were one-time tasks. He decided he wanted to get those over with early, so he would only have to focus on the tasks that are needed daily.

As I came downstairs early in the morning and saw him unloading the dishwasher without my asking, I nearly fainted!

evan dished

“Evan, you’re doing your jobs!” I exclaimed. “Why?” He replied, “I like knowing what I need to do without you having to nag me.”

That makes sense, I thought. Just like the developers I worked with when I was a project manager asking them every few hours, “What are you working on? When will you be done?” No one likes a nag.

As a tween exerting his independence, being able to choose what he worked on and when he worked on it without his mother bugging him was a huge win!

Of course like every team, there is that team member who resists change. In our family’s case, that was my nine-year-old, Eithan. He was pretty grumpy about the whole thing, and didn’t seem as inspired as I was hoping he would be.

“Eithan, why don’t you like this new way we are working?” I asked. “Because I liked the old way,” he replied.

Hmm, a common problem in my agile coaching experience. Change is hard. Period. Not everyone is going to jump on board right away. My advice here – communicate the benefits and give it time.

“Eithan, I understand that change is difficult. How ever, with Scrum, you can pick emily sprint planningyour own jobs. And except for things like feeding the cats, you can do them whenever you want, however you want to,” I explained. “I like that,” he said.

My youngest team member, six-year-old Emily, fell somewhere in the middle. I didn’t see a 180 degree change, but she wasn’t resistant either. She really loved the board, and being able to see what she needed to do. She still needed a little prodding to get started, but she was a great sport!

Establishing Scrum at home, or at work, doesn’t happen in one sprint. It takes several iterations of refinement to see what works for your family or your team. However, even marginal improvements can be extremely rewarding.

Watch for my next blog to read about our first family retrospective!

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