2 min read

Agile for Families

We can run projects with large and complex deliverables and distributed and diverse teams using Agile. Why not families?
Agile for Families
My Family, circa 2000

We can run projects with large and complex deliverables and distributed and diverse teams using Agile.  Why not families?

Years ago, I watched a TED talk by Bruce Feiler on Agile Methodology for families.  I absolutely loved the idea.  My own kids were grown up by the time I saw this idea, however I started talking to other parents about it.  To my surprise, several of my friends were implementing some of the techniques used in one form of the other.

When my own kids were younger, we had dinners together for the most part - and that was the "Standup" time - albeit sitting down with long form exchange of information.  We exchanged stories and learnt all about each other's day.  A friend of ours who had lost touch with us for a while come to one of these dinners and was struck by how "Americana" it seemed.  This half American half Indian family with its vegan dinners sharing daily stories was Americana.... but I digress.

During said dinner, my son, who then was maybe 5 or 6, kept fidgeting with a glass of water, precariously set very close to the table's edge.  we warned him a couple of time of knocking off the glass of water, but the information was not well received.  Predictably, water was spilled, glass shattered.  We made sure that the kids were OK and proceeded to cleanup and continue eating.  Our friend was amazed and shared that in his own home growing up, voices would have been raised and punishments doled out.

The similarities to the Agile methodology here are not the shortness of the meetings, but rather the focus on the iteration and improvement, and not playing the blame game.  From the 12 Agile Principles:

Build projects around motivated individuals.  Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.

In the TED Talk, and in my conversation with other parents, emphasis is on daily touch points, and daily intention.  Here's an example:

Agile Standup VersionAgile Family Version
What did you do yesterday?What did you learn / accomplish today?
What will you do today?What are you planning to create tomrrow?
What (if anything) is blocking your progress?What (if anything) is blocking your progress?

These are a great place to start.  It is a great way to connect, focus and support your team - your family.

And while we are here. let's take a look at all the agile principles:

  1. Customer satisfaction by delivering the software early.
  2. Accept the change requirement, even in the later stage of development.
  3. Delivering the software frequently.
  4. Daily cooperation between business people and developers.
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted.
  6. A face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location).
  7. Working on the project rather than planning.
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace.
  9. Continuous attention excellence and better design.
  10. The maximizing of the work efficiency.
  11. Best design, the best solution, and architecture emerged from self-organizing.
  12. Regularly meeting to discuss the team’s improvement.

How can we incorporate these into our family?  What do you see in these principles that could work for your family?


I would love to hear your Agile for Families ideas.  Connect with me to see how you can establish Agile methodology for your family.