In a previous entry, I described some problems that we are having in using agile work practices in our household management. We have put up a cork board in our hallway in order to hold our tasks. It’s lovely! It also is really practical. As we complete the tasks, we are taking them down and throwing them away. As might be expected, this very physical closure on tasks is very satisfying. For myself, the visible tasks has greatly improved my awareness of what needs to be done. I find myself checking the board a few times a day at least. It remains to be seen if this will help us become more accurate in our selection of work for an iteration…
My wife and I have been doing weekly iterations to deal with our household management stuff. As we go along, we are definitely getting through the high-priority items on our household backlog. Along the way, we have encountered a couple of glitches.
1. We missed doing our weekly planning meeting one week. Basically, it was a really busy weekend with way too much stuff going on, both expected and unexpected. We simply failed to remember to do our planning meeting until it was too late to fit it in.
2. Most weeks we miss a number of items that we have selected to complete that week. It can be anywhere from 10% to 70% of the total number of tasks. Usually we get the “larger” tasks done and it is just smaller stuff that we miss.
3. I don’t have nearly the same visibility into the work as my wife does. I travel and am away from home four days a week. As a result, I don’t get to see the state of the house or participate in daily planning except for the three days that I am home.
So, we’ve discussed these things and decided that one thing that will help is to create an information radiator. We will be putting up our weekly selection of tasks on yellow sticky notes on a prominent wall in the hallway between our bedrooms and the rest of the house. The location is a compromise between visibility and privacy. We don’t want the tasks to be in a public portion of the house.
We hope that having the tasks up will allow me to be a little more conscious of the work that needs to be done. As well, it will be a frequent reminder of what is left to accomplish. I hope that this will be a fairly easy and valuable addition to our agile household management process.
Four weeks ago my wife, Melanie, reviewed a paper I was writing about Agile Work. When I talked to her about it, she asked me why we aren’t using these practices for managing our household.