As my posts from 2008 attest, I was thoroughly taken by Scrum and believed that I could use it to help organize my personal life.
However, only about two or three sprints into using Scrum to plan our weekly household responsibilities, it became clear that timeboxing, the very foundation of Scrum as an agile approach, was not meshing at all with the constant flow of “work” coming into our “team”.
Our main problems?
- We had too many stories rolling over from one sprint to the next, often because they were on hold for various reasons (ranging from budget constraints to waiting for a call back).
- We often had to add stories mid-sprint (shock, gasp, horror!) because, well, you know. Life happens.
Life simply cannot be predicted and managed in clear-cut time boxes. As in software maintenance teams and IT departments, you often don’t know what’s going to happen from day to day. You just have a constant flow of work that needs to be done as efficiently as possible.
I knew I had to find something else. Scrum had already brought some good things into our family’s ability to plan and organize, and I wanted to build on that.
Armed with our backlog and whiteboard with stickies, I went looking for something more flexible, more suited to visualizing the flow of work in our lives.
Enter Kanban. More specifically, Personal Kanban.