The Agile Tribe

The Family Agile

on April 27, 2011

Author: Shawn Wallace

I have been using Agile techniques on projects for many years now to a point at which I can barely remember doing things any other way. Even so,  I have never tried using them outside of the office until recently.

I was offered a new position with my company but it meant that I needed to relocate my wife, two kids and two dogs from Auckland to Brisbane.  The task itself seemed quite daunting as there were so many things to get organised, work through and keep track of.  Worse yet, there was a fixed deadline! I found myself laying in bed many an evening thinking about all the tasks.   That’s when it hit me.  “This is a job for Agile”.

The Wall for the move to Australia

The next day I got straight into it.  I gave my wife a quick ‘Demystifying Agile Session’ and then we got onto writing out all our story cards.  I was shocked at the number of cards that we ended up with.  If we took it no further than that, just the story carding session was a huge success.  There were tons of tasks we had overlooked previously but captured them all with the stories.

Once we had our backlog complete we prioritised the cards using ‘Must have’, ‘Should have’,  and ‘Could have’. Surprisingly there were a number of lower priority cards.  You would think everything had to be done before we left the country but that was not the case.  As an example ‘Change Life Insurance policy from NZ company to AU company’ is actually only partially complete currently and we have been here for six  months now.  I still have a valid policy in NZ and am in the process of getting new insurance here.

Blockers

We plastered our lounge door and walls with our story cards and ran with a simple wall.  Backlog – In Progress – Done. Once the wall was ready we jumped in with both feet, picking up cards and getting them to the done column.  We worked through our backlog for just over a month having a standup every 2-3 days.  Things were tracking really well, we even had blocker stickers on certain cards with descriptions of the blocker e.g. ‘Waiting for quote from removal company’.

The only thing that went slightly off track was that I noticed my wife had started to assign some tasks to me instead of me picking them up but I guess that is just part of the companies embedded hierarchy :- )

When the due date rolled around we had ALL of our ‘Must Haves’ in the DONE column and 90% of the ‘Should Have’s”.  The few cards that were partially done have been rolled into the next iteration (Iteration Life) and the stake holders and project sponsor are extremely happy with the outcome.

About the Author:  Shawn is a senior IT Professional with over 16 years experience in the IT industry and is currently Australian Delivery Manager at Solnet Solutions.

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2 responses to “The Family Agile

  1. Agile Scout says:

    awesome! would love to see a picture of it!

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