Scrum Family

by Administrator 1. August 2008 18:41

I was listening to the most recent Thirsty Developer, http://thirstydeveloper.com/2008/07/26/TheThirstyDeveloper28SCRUMAndAgileInTheEnterprise.aspx.  Sean is a great guy and I'm glad Larry and Dave were able to connect with him.  One thing I found interesting is that they mention using Scrum for things other than software development projects.  It is indeed a generic principle based on empirical process management.  Scrum is a simple idea, like most powerful ideas.  At CarSpot, we are (more or less) using Scrum for our inter-departmental communication as well as software development.  The various managers meet with their teams in a brief, daily standup, and at 2:00pm we have a Scrum of Scrums where department managers/directors talk about what's going on and are able to air any complaints about the service they're getting from other departments.  We are using ScrumWorks at this time, but I'm thinking we can create something that suits our needs better.

In addition, my family operates on Scrum.  You may have noticed that I'm fairly fond of my toys.  A lot of married men that I talk to claim they would never be "allowed" to have such things.  They use terms like "SWMBO", She Who Must Be Obeyed.  Really?  Honestly, you guys are either:

  1. Spineless.
  2. Broke.
  3. Pretending to be spineless by saying its your wife and not your better judgement keeping you from blowing tons of money on things you really know you shouldn't have.  You think by displacing this acetism to your spouse you appear more manly to your peers.  In fact you appear to be spineless and your friends feel sorry for you, thinking you must not be happy in your relationship.
  4. You don't really value your own happiness.

In my family, we have a Family Backlog.  Just like in Scrum, everything goes on there, no matter what.  Nothing is a "no", just a low priority.  I don't think my Tesla Roadster will be on a Sprint any time soon.  Still, it's a great way to communicate and feel things out.  No one feels slighted because there is a known order of what we're working on, and we can have ridiculous things as long as we respect the fact that we take turns and do what makes sense.  My wife will be getting her own diving gear and curtains in the whole house following my recent speaker purchases.  Nothing is listed as being for "us", unless its really for US.  I don't know how many times a friend or coworker has complained that they can't get a new TV because the bedroom set was for "them".  These men could care less about a new bedroom set, they want an HDTV dammit.  This system works for us, everyone is happy, and the backlog can be reprioritized as our needs and wishes change.  Besides being a fair system, I'm lucky enough to be married to a great woman who really cares about my happiness and - get this - doesn't think she knows better than me what will make me happy.  So men, put your new Corvette on your family backlog and be aware you may wind up funding a total kitchen makeover directly before or after it.  If families really want to be fair with limited resources, to really do the things that are important to the family and to each individual therein, you could do a lot worse than Scrum.

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About the author

Damon Payne is a Microsoft MVP specializing in Smart Client solution architecture. 

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