Should You Embrace Agile Principles at Home?
Many of us who fail to follow the old adage “don’t take your work home with you” may not have to follow it any longer. More and more people are practicing at home what they practice at work. Not only their bosses but also their spouses—and even their children—are praising them for it.
It appears that agile has expanded its reach yet again. Years ago the agile concept eclipsed simply being used to develop software; now, according to a Wall Street Journal article, it’s left the office entirely and found a way to improve our home lives.
Bruce Feiler at the Wall Street Journal recently took a look at the Starr family who have embraced agile in their home. They charted the improvements in productivity and, most importantly, the reduction in stress. Feiler then looks at the improvements made by his own family, who also have taken on changing the family dynamic through agile.
Both the Feilers and the Starrs detail how agile—through its familiar methodologies such as brief yet effective team meetings, weekly reviews, and the empowerment of everyone on board (the children especially)—has revolutionized their lives at home.
Stress is reduced, workloads are reduced, and communication and satisfaction have increased through the roof.
Mike Cohn, co-founder of the Agile Alliance, blogs heavily about the sweeping benefits that agile has brought to teams since its creation. He details in one entry why it only makes sense that the practice shouldn’t be limited to the confines of an office or lab:
…agile is most appropriate on any urgent project with significant complexity and novelty…
Those with children at home know all too well that there are few things more “significantly complex” or novel than raising children in a stress-free and harmonious environment. Many working parents may even find their time at work less stressful than their time in the home, which is sad. If agile has anything to say about it, this is not how life has to be.
Those looking to give agile a shot to resolve their family and home problems—whatever they may be—needn’t look far as there are numerous resources of families who already have agile in place and are eager to share the benefits with anyone interested in doing the same. Just as no two testing or development teams are identical, no two families are identical either. But agile at the family-level is just as adaptable as it is in the workplace.
Scrum, personal kanban, and lean strategies are all being attempted, and speaking for the exhausted families I know—and the one I’m a parent in—anything’s worth a try.
Have you tried agile in your home? Please share your experiences in the comments.