Summer Kanban Experiment

My 15 year-old daughter is very active and good about getting her homework done, but when left at home for a day with nowhere to be, she can easily lose the entire day in her phone or Netflix. As you can imagine, it drives me crazy when I get home from work and ask: “Did you do your reading?” or “Did you clean your room as I asked?” or even “Did you eat lunch today?” and instead of the “yes” I am hoping for I get “no” or worse yet, a blank stare.

This summer my daughter is going to 3 different camps, but she will have a total of 4 weeks at home with no real plans. She has things she wants to do with that time like start  running, get her summer reading done, get ahead on chemistry for next year. And I have things I want her to get done like cleaning her room and doing her summer math packet. She also, understandably, wants to have time to do nothing.

In the past I have helped her manage her homework and other chores by using a weekend backlog which we prioritize together. This has been successful for us both because we set the expectations and both agree and then I leave her to it. We check in occasionally but I don’t worry that she’s forgetting something and she doesn’t have me nagging her. I will post more on this later. But for the 4 weeks of summer I think we need something more so I am going to try making a Kanban board for her.

I explained it to her today and we talked about a good spot to keep the board and we listed out some tasks. She leaves for her first camp tomorrow and I will get the Kanban board set up while she is gone. Additionally while she is gone I will also be thinking about:

  • Ways to estimate tasks
  • How many tasks she can reasonably get done in a week (what is a good starting velocity?)
  • How we will check in daily (daily stand up)

Agile In Real Life

Hello and welcome.

Let me introduce myself: I am a Certified Scrum Master, Certified Scrum Professional and passionate Agilist. I’ve been using agile methodologies at work for over 6 years and have seen how it leads to better results from happier teams. Frankly it has been a life-changer in my career and I am quite evangelical. I currently work as a Product Manager and lead 2 Scrum teams and serve as and Agile Coach for my teams and a few others in the organization.

In addition to being a Product Manager and Agile Coach at work, I am the mother of a a very active teenager. She is a multi-sport athlete who also attends a special program for science as part of her school day. Both my husband and I have full-time jobs and on most days she needs to get somewhere, get home and get homework done.

A few years ago as my daughter’s activities and homework both increased it occurred to me that some Agile principles could be applied at home to make things easier to manage and to also make my family happier and more efficient.

The purpose of this blog is to share my real-world use of Agile principles both at work and in my home life and hopefully pass along some helpful ideas.