April 15, 2012

Homemade Kanban - How to make it last?

Agile@Home :

After understanding Agile and Scrum, the first question that parents ask is, "will it last?"
Have you ever asked yourself that?
I asked myself the exact same thing when I first started this. Then I started to think about, why did it last, and what were those things that didn’t last. What did we gain out of this?
But first things first. As a parent how do we make things last with kids?

I say, if you want it to last, make it last, just know when to let go. It's not really different from any other educational or behavioral skill I want my child to gain.
Let's say, you want your child to go to school every day. You will make sure it happens. You believe it is important, or you appreciate the value, or it’s the law.
So now we apply this to the task board. You’ve already found this method interesting, and you know the value, and you are already thinking about implementing it.
Then it will last longer.

So first - Believe in the expected outcome. Children can feel when you believe in something (and when you don’t). Make sure both parents agree about it, as it will last longer.
I personally believe that like everything that’s 'fun' or more like a "game" lasts more with kids than something that’s perceived as ‘boring’. Kanban at home can be lots of fun for kids, as it has colors, boards, notes, ideas, dialog, empowerment ……… and a lot of attention!
Speaking of attention. Remember, we emphasize the family dialog above every thing else. The great value besides 'getting things done' is a family dialog. This dialog should last above all.

What happens is that once the task board and tasks are routine, many recurring annoying tasks are not an issue any more, as we manage and control them as part of the family routine. Once out of our way, we have time to deal with the really important stuff.
The task board is then filled up with more important stuff that the kids and the family want to share and accomplish. Issues at school, fun days, exams, family projects and more.

So sometimes you may find that you aren’t using a task board any more, but you ARE having a healthy daily dialog between the kids and the parents. And things are getting done around the house and for your kids. They achieve these values using wonderful Kanban tools - visibility, the ceremonies (daily, retrospective, planning), and so on.
Whenever we think that we need the Kanban board again, we just start using it again. There are many things we can apply the same method to. Cooking together; birthday party preparation; learning to an exam; cleaning the house tougher or planning a trip; TV schedule; whatever.

So I think it lasts as long as we see the value. And it's perfectly OK to stop and say that we don’t need it anymore, and if we have a specific need, start up a board again.
Applying Agile tools is, for example, having a daily meeting, visualizing your tasks, getting things done, looking ahead and planning, looking backward to see if you can do it better next time and learn. Communication is key.
The task board is just the means to make sure those things last.

After all, succeeding with Agile has a lot to do with mindset.


  1. The links to the agile books seem to be broken...any updates there? Thanks!

  2. Sorry , it is currently under construction. You can contact me directly and I will send you the book  shirly@agilesparks.com

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