The Agile Family

We recently started an experiment to bring about order in our house and improve the daily routine with two young kids under 8 years and  two working parents. Given my experience in agile software development, product management, and Kanban I am wired to think of my work in terms of a prioritized backlog with a visual flow of the work process.

As my family grew and aged we needed new tools to better manage everything. I tried to use online calendars and checklists but these always had the critical point of failure of not working well with young kids  We needed an information radiator that would help us manage the chaotic and stressful morning and evening routines. It needed to be flexible, colorful, fun and instantly understandable.

Inspiration came one day after visiting a cousin with similarly-aged children and a suggestion to check out Bruce Feiler’s TED talk on managing the chaos of family life.

Equipped with fresh inspiration and deep toolbox from agile facilitation I set to work. This version of the board is basic and effective — clipart pictures make it easy to understand at glance. And the limited set of priorities clearly defines what matters most while allowing each kid agency on what to tackle when so long as the board is clear each day.

Visualizing work helps me and my family manage what needs to be done, connect authentically as a family and minimize nagging.