The Action Engineering team embraces an Agile mindset & Scrum practices in our work.
In our Agile articles, we share tips & coaching opportunities that work well for us.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about using Scrum to help run the ‘family business’. I’m a firm believer in practicing what I preach, but since my household consists of just me and Skip (my four-legged fur child), it really wasn’t possible. It would take a lot of peanut butter and cheese to convince Skip to write user stories to capture his chores, such as guarding the yard from cats, mopping up the kitchen floor, and keeping the couch warm.
Since at the time of writing the last blog, I was in the middle of buying a home and relocating from Indianapolis to Baltimore, I figured that was the perfect, time-boxed project to put ‘Scrum in Real Life’ to the test.
I had four weeks between my offer on the house being accepted and my closing date. In that time, I had a long list of tasks to accomplish. If you’ve ever purchased a home, you know my pain. Add a global pandemic to the mix and this project was extra complex. So many pieces of the puzzle were changing on a daily basis – documents were required for financing, I had to switch from using a POD to renting a trailer to haul my belongings, and Skip had to be consulted on road-trip snacks.
I created a simple Scrum board on a free app. I was making a few trips between Indy and Baltimore during this time, so I needed a tool that I could quickly reference. My board had four columns: backlog, to-do, doing, and done. Being able to carry my Scrum board in my pocket was a life-saver and helped calm my anxiety about getting it all done.
I poured myself a glass of wine – and gave Skip a peanut butter Kong – and held a Sprint Kickoff meeting. I wrote out my goal and broke my goal into “must do” and “nice to have” tasks to help me prioritize my tasks. While it would have been nice to have my internet provider all sorted before the big move, it wasn’t a “must do” before moving and closing on the house. In contrast, I needed to research and select homeowners insurance before I would be allowed to close on the house.
Over my morning cup of coffee, I would review my Scrum board and develop my plan for the day. This served as my Daily Standup. Since I was a team of one, I would write down my plan for the day as my way of committing to it, since I didn’t have team members to hold me accountable.
After I closed on the house, I grabbed a pizza and celebrated. While I have no plans of moving or buying another house soon, I spent a bit of time reviewing the Scrum board and all that I had accomplished. I thought about what I could have done better to improve the experience for the next time. If I had written out a waterfall plan, I think I still would have closed on my house on time – but no guarantees all of my belongings would have made it to Baltimore. The biggest lesson learned: trust Agile principles when faced with a complex project.
If you’ve tried to implement Scrum or Agile principles in your life, let us know! We love the challenge of applying Scrum to unique situations. Send us a message!
Former Agile Team Lead,