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Michael Mangialardi
Michael Mangialardi

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Apply Agile to the Family

Although I have recently criticized some aspects of Agile, it does some things very well.

  1. It creates a sense of mission across a variety of roles within a team.

  2. It provides frequent opportunities to evaluate work in progress and pivot as needed.

  3. It emphasizes small wins that can add up to a larger purpose.

To put it another way, we can break the Agile methodology into several components:

  1. There is a team with multiple roles.

  2. The team works together towards a mission within their distinct, yet sometimes overlapping goals.

  3. The team has tasks on its mission.

  4. The team tracks its tasks and evaluates periodically as tasks are being done.

The principles of Agile may be applied across any organization that also has a team with a mission comprised of a multitude of tasks and roles within that mission.

The family is such an organization.

We don't always think of it in this way, but the family is a mini government, a mini organization, a mini team.

Families do well to have a concrete mission. They should have aims as to what they should produce and how they may contribute to larger society for good--and how they can accomplish such things in a way that builds every member up.

Members of a family have distinct skills, experience, strengths, interests, callings, roles, and responsibilities. Yet, they are contributing to a shared mission.

Putting it all together, a family is a team with many roles found within it. A family may have a mission and small wins (tasks) to accomplish that mission, delegating work across the variety of members.

Therefore, why can't an Agile methodology be applied to a family?

Here's what it could look like:

  • Write out your family mission
  • Aggregate current tasks and projects that are a part of that mission
  • Make these tasks and projects deliverables that are small but important wins
  • Distribute the work across the team
  • Take time to check in on progress, see how things are going, discuss any difficulties, pivot as needed, and reflect to commend each other for what has gone well, yet still working on areas of improvement

For my family, which right now is only comprised of my wife and our not-even-one-year-old, we have formed a long term mission.

While the long term mission is something we always think about and prepare for in the background, we pursue it until it changes.

Each year, we set aside goals for what we would like to accomplish, to be intentional about.

Every month, we set aside some projects that can help us towards some of our goals.

Every week, we jot down some projects we can work on as well as the everyday life type of work.

At the start of each week, we review how the past week went, discuss our plans for the new week, and record an action items, making those action items tasks for the week.

Rinse and repeat.

Have you tried applying Agile to your family?

Discussion (2)

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alco profile image
Jakub Stibůrek

Honestly this is scary. Do we need to organise our lives as we do our work? I don't think so. Leave something to chance, man. It reminds me of my childhood when my mom tried to establish schedules, point systems and whatnot. It didn't work, it was unnecessary overhead, it didn't solve any problem. Keep it natural and talk to each other, be honest, that's all you need.

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Tonghe Wang

Talk to each other and be honest is good advice. Life is long. The deadline of life is when we, well, are dead. Why do we need to agile our way to it. Lol.