My family has been using Scrum to manage housework for about a year and a half now. There are days that if child protection came to visit, they would have us arrested for having the messiest house in suburbia and I want to declare #Scrumfail. Blame the process, not the team. Isn’t that what so many of us do in the real world? “Scrum doesn’t work,” we hear our organizations declare.
“Blame the process, not the team. Isn’t that what so many of us do in the real world?”
My house isn’t the cleanest one on the block. It never was and probably never will be, no matter what methods we try. Is that because Scrum let us down? Are we not diligent enough in our planning? Are our monthly sprints too long?
A few weeks ago I was feeling pretty defeated. We had been sprinting with the same jobs for a month and the ‘team’, a.k.a. my kids, had lost interest. They had no motivation. When I asked them their tasks, they couldn’t name them off. Just six months earlier I had presented at the Global Scrum Gathering on Scrum at home. Now I felt like a fraud. Our team had taken a step backwards.
I decided we would give sprint planning another try. We talked about what was working and what wasn’t working as a family. We agreed that everyone had too many tasks. It would be better to have only a few (we landed on three for kids, four for parents) and to do them well. All other ‘jobs’ would be done by the family as a whole.
We put all of our tasks into Trello, which the kids had asked for a few sprints ago. And then sprint planning was done – or so I thought.
What happened next was amazing! The kids went to the white board. They began visualizing their work. My 8 year-old daughter wrote sticky notes for her tasks and put them in sequence. My 12 year-old son illustrated his tasks on the white board. They had this renewed sense of purpose and were excited again about Scrum!
And then it occurred to me – I really do have a self-organizing team! If I can step away and they can continue to refine how they work without me telling them to, isn’t that what we are all trying to achieve? It’s not the process. It’s the results of the process and how it inspires people. Now, if only their bathroom would stay clean!