Your Agile Coach

Adeel Asad Mirza

Schooled in Agile by a 9 year old

I was schooled by my 9 year old daughter today during a routine tidy-up of her bedroom. On the floor was her note book that she frequently embellishes with thoughts, ideas and mostly declarations of disdain towards her two siblings.

On this occasion though, I stopped and did a double-take on the writing on the page.

The note above refers back to a couple of weekends ago. It was the usual morning set-up of me informing the kids of all the chores that needed to be done. In fact, I recall stating that they probably wouldn’t be able to do them all but they absolutely need to help with the garden because it’s a mess.

What transpired then, according to her explanation of the above image is a list of all the things that I had asked her to do, alongside a static Kanban board of activities which she was ticking off the “backlog” written at the top.

Unfortunately for her, she was unable to get all the items to done – as is denoted by the lack of tick marks in some of the boxes – but she was able to keep a tally of both the overall list of work as well as a prioritised list of things that needed to be done.

All this, by the way, was self-managed and self-organized. If only I could go back in time and tell some of my previous work colleagues the lesson I learnt from the above picture.

Agile is not about the tools and the budget for purchasing Jira-type licences. It’s not about re-organising the office space so that post-it notes can be stuck on the wall. If there is a will, there’s a way as they say.

It took my 9 year old 5 minutes of note taking to hit home this valuable lesson for me and at the same time it demonstrates that when the belief is transferred over, i.e. the “Why” is in sync across the team, then the “How” is achieved with ease and without fuss.