Humor | Quarantine Diaries (excerpt): Pseudo Scrumban for the win!

Quarantine Diaries (excerpt): Pseudo Scrumban for the win!
Yours Truly | April 2020

Perhaps you wonder how to conciliate the desires of achievement of your significant other and the desires of cyber-nonchalance of a pair of young twenty something male specimens… perhaps not. Either way, I would like to share a modest success story, thanks to the delicate introduction of Agile to my family in these viral times.

Context: stuck at home, good project ideas, very different levels of motivation & support, many arguments, very emotional ambiance… in other words, a normal family.

Idea: Wondering if I could put my skills to the test to channel the emotions to avoid future explosion and get somethings done, all in a positive atmosphere. I even imagined potential proactivity, because I am an optimistic individual.
I came up with a completely twisted adaptation of stuff we all know and use, that I call “Pseudo Scrumban”.

Pseudo Scrumban

This is essentially documentation, as the notion of Sprint is humoristic at best in a confined environment. It is probably closer to a Marathon, if not an Ultra Marathon (this is being written on our sixth week).

Document #1 = Maintenance = Chart with list of daily & weekly chores that must be done around the house. Volunteer basis, first come first serve. When something is done, owner writes initial in the date column.

This is managed as its own independent project. Objective is to just get things done and not think about it. Took about 1 week to implement smoothly. Currently works.

Examples of Chores: load dishwasher, unload dishwasher, make lunch, make dinner, trash, recycle…

Document #2 = List of Projects (Pseudo Backlog) = as it name implies, this is the list of projects that are being considered. Each project must be divided into segments or steps (Pseudo PBIs), each corresponding to a post-it.

Examples of Projects: power wash house, repaint bedroom, repaint corridor, repaint stairway, repaint shed…

Document #3 = Projects Kanban Chart = basic, 3 columns: To Do / Doing / Done. When a Project from #2 is approved and ownership of tasks is clear, the post-its are set in the To Do column.

Ceremony = Daily Stand Up = classic, timeboxed, unemotional. Each takes a turn to talk briefly about (1) What was done yesterday (good time to update the Post-Its accordingly, on the fly), (2) What is planned for today (3) Eventual Issues.

Ceremony = AdHoc Meeting = non timeboxed meeting, where emotions are acceptable, to discuss anything.

Bottomline = This was implemented after two weeks of frustration. It took a week to get the Maintenance part up and rolling and it has flown rather smoothly since.
The Projects part worked better than expected, as there has been very little issues since we have been using this. Even the kids told me “wow, that actually works!”.

The Post-Its:

  • helped break down Projects into small and simple tasks
  • these tasks were easier to dispatch according to skills & availability
  • were perfect to adapt to the required flexibility imposed by random reasons
  • showed that a lot of things were getting done (bonus significant other points)
  • reassured that Projects were participative (bonus kid points)

Mens sana“… This has helped us go through these six weeks of confinement without losing our minds. We even have the satisfaction of having done things.

Build your own toolset easily = Design a few spreadsheets and print them out (letter-size works fine), put them on the fridge door with magnets, get some Post-Its (mini for letter-size printouts), set up a time for the Daily Stand Up time and smoothly bring your team to life and enjoy getting things done in a saner ambiance. There is no magic, it takes dedication, but take your time, be very flexible, good luck and stay safe!

Pseudo Scrumban, a family saver! 🙂