November 10, 2012

Identify Quick wins – Apply Agile at home

A quick win concept means that you look to solve a pain point, a problem, that has a relatively significant impact towards achieving your goals, but requires relatively small effort.  Applying Agile@Home with your kids has more than just a few quick wins in it.

The Quick win aims to create success, as –
‘Success breeds success. Create the momentum early on by making smaller changes that are visible to the entire organization. This allows people to get a feel for success.’

As pain points are usually related to a business issue, it is often used in the business world. Instead of waiting for big plans which may happen in the future, we identify the pain points first, and address them immediately. There are risks in Quick Wins, of course, of concentrating too much on the details without addressing the process as a whole. I believe in quick wins, I really do, but I believe more strongly in evolution and balance. Having quick wins is as essential as dealing with the big picture and the process. So to identify the quick wins is a good method, as long as we address the big picture as well.

This post is all about quick wins.
OK, but how do quick wins relate to Agile, especially Personal Agile?
I’m glad you asked.
Here are a few Agile at Home Quick Wins:
·         Scope: When you start practicing Agile at home, it’s not about getting the family tasks done, it’s really about creating a healthy family dialog in an easy, practical and intuitive way.
Quick win: It’s an awesome way for learning and empowering your kids.

·         Visibility: The whole family task board is visible. We place all the tasks on the board, including Mom’s and Dad’s. The statement is:” We are all in this together”, instead of singling out one family member as the problem. The “problematic” person gets our attention, but usually, that’s all that is needed. We get cooperation based on success, not failure, which is always a better way to communicate and get things done.
Quick win: It’s a good way to deal with one individual problem.

·         Fun: In Agile and especially with kids, fun is an excellent quick win. Big white boards, sticky notes, colors – it’s all fun and like a big colorful game. And in game mode, you get your kids’ attention a lot faster.
Quick win: Fun increases collaboration and motivation.

·         Daily gathering: The daily gathering is only about 20 minutes each day, but it’s very focused – we communicate with our family, with a specific scope, and listen to our children. In terms of attention, getting things done becomes easy when you regularly talk to your child. In fact, psychologists recommend that parents should free up time to be with their children, talk to them and pay them proper attention.
Quick win: Easy communication, and The communication isn’t just about ‘what you didn’t do today’

·         Ongoing feedback: We don’t forget to give feedback, or give it three days later - we have the time to communicate over relevant issues and bring the event to a close as it happens. This is a confidence booster, as we give feedback all the time, and not only on tasks not performed (as we do when we don’t deal with tasks) but over the overall tasks on the board for the entire family.
Quick win: Feedback boosts your kids’ confidence and learning abilities

And there are so many more…

So how will you create your own quick wins when using agile at home?

1.  First, understand your value and what you want to achieve. Quick wins should be related to our goals.

2. The most important tip is, actively look for quick wins and identify pain points. Don’t wait around for them.

3.  Choose easy targets that are relatively easy to obtain. Don’t go for a full behavioral change using steps and methods. That’s a process, not a quick win.

4.  Quick wins don’t have to be about the pain point. Rather, they can be something that affects another area of pain with low effort and high impact, related to the expected value.

For example: Concentrating on an easy task first so we can boost the confidence level to deal with hardest tasks later. Let’s say that our child doesn’t do his math homework. Now, we want our child to get things done but also to feel that he succeeded. Instead of taking 1-2 weeks and working on the difficult area – homework - we can encourage him to begin an easier task we know he can handle. Maybe he likes to read – so reading a book is a good task.  We can then leverage this feeling of accomplishment to increase his ability to deal with harder tasks later.

5.  Quick wins might be hiding inside a big task. Dividing a big task to smaller ones may help you identify the wins.

Helping a child divide a homework task to small portions and start with the easy one, identify the areas where he can do best are quick wins.

6.   If you have time constraints, leave the hard and complicated tasks for later (assuming they are all equally important)

In an exam for example, I always tell my child to start with what he knows. Skip the questions you don’t know, and get back to them later. His ability to distinguish between the hard points and the easy points generates a quick win.

Not everything is a quick win, of course. Sometimes, work takes time and a lot of it. This is just one approach for getting things done.

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