Sunday, September 26, 2010

Using Scrum For Saturday Chores

The most obvious sign of doing Scrum is using a taskboard. Alan Dayley wrote to me about how his family used a task board and "Scrum Sprint" to handle their Saturday tasks.

Here's how he did it:

  • Foam board nailed to the wall in the dining room.
  • Self stick 3x5 index cards
  • Small sticky notes
  • Mom = Product Owner
  • Dad = ScrumMaster
  • Kids = Scrum Team

  • Mom created spreadsheet with the "sprint backlog" a few days before. -- Jobs (or areas of the house) divided into smaller tasks.
  • Dad created the heading cards, job cards and the sticky notes of each task.
  • Around 10:30 AM the whole family held a stand up meeting is held in front of the board.
  • Points were assigned to each task. Just three possible values to keep it easy: 1 = easy, 2 = normal, 3 = hard. Point values of each task were decided jointly by the kids, but Mom & Dad had a veto power. The point values were written on lower right of each task sticky note.
  • Go!
  • The kids pick a task or two, writing their initial in lower right corner of each task sticky note and moving sticky note to the "Working" column in the Job row.
  • When a kid completes a task, s/he moves the sticky note to "Check" column. The did then selects next task by initialing and moving it's sticky note to the "Working" column.
  • Mom or Dad checks the quality of the work, moving the sticky back to "Working" or over to "Done" column.
  • Proceed until all tasks complete about two hours later!
According to Alan, it worked great on their first time!

Thank you, Alan for the article and permission to print it.

Do you use a taskboard or sprint planning to organize your family tasks? Please let me know how you did it, preferably with a picture!


  1. why did mom create the sprint backlog? she's the product owner.

  2. It's great to hear of other families using agile methods to manage their lives. I started using Scrum at home about two years, and after a while switched to Kanban, since it fit more naturally for us.

    We have learnt a number of valuable lessons about self-organization and visualizing work to be done.

  3. Hi Parnell,

    I wasn't there, so I am speculating. Something tells me the backlog would be quite similar every iteration and that every iteration is a release. So Release Backlog and Sprint Backlog are probably quite similar.

    Personally, I think it is interesting to look at how the rules of Scrum get adapted in a family situation. A family is an autonomous unit, but are the kids a semi-autonomous, self-organizing team whose purpose is to further the interests of the, uh, shareholders?

  4. I can definitely see this working at home with kids for sure. Am sure kids will be more curious to implement this than elders :)


  5. I can see it now...

    Me: "What are you working on?"
    Son: "I'm getting ready to scrub the shower floor."
    Me: "What! That's not on the task board! You're working outside the iteration!!"