June 02, 2012

How not to set tasks on the family Kanban board

Agile@Home :

Before we start, I want to distinguish between backlog tasks  and operative tasks.

Backlog tasks are our basic wish list. We can have as many of them as we like, in whatever shape and size we want, as long as they are on our backlog. When we actually get around to them, then we’ll break them down into proper tasks, but for the time being, we can leave them as is. Of course, when we DO decide to tackle them, we’ll start with those we want to tackle first.

Operative tasks: Tasks we want to perform. Now, it doesn’t really matter if the task is ours or our kids - something like ‘go buy groceries’ is too vague. Having a specific budget or a specific list makes things much easier. Even at work, when your boss wants you to get a presentation ready, you need to know what’s the presentation for, when are you expected to deliver it, and so on. The same goes for your children. When we want them to do something practical, we need to make sure it is defined.
So we’re talking about the operative tasks here, of course.

So, how not to define them?

1.       Make them too big. Bigger isn’t better in this case. Limit the task by time or actions if you have to, but break the big task down into smaller, achievable bits.

2.       Hide them. Hidden tasks don’t get done. When you see it , you can get it done.

3.       Overload the board. Don’t have too many tasks at once. Even adults have a difficult time with someone barking a long list of things to do at them, so you can just imagine how your children feel.

4.       Vague. Don’t be vague. If you don’t explain what you mean by ‘tidy your room’, how can you expect your kids to live up to your expectations?

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