Mommy Dojo Kanban: Day 1 – Set up and Get up!

As they say in broadcasting: “I interrupt the usual programming with a special announcement”. My blog posts are usually measured, and written over a few days, and published intermittently. But tonight I’m inspired to try something new. Let’s call it a blogathon, shall we?

Starting right now,this very minute, I’ll be writing a post every day for exactly 7 days. I’ll be writing about my latest Personal Kanban experiment, the Mommy Dojo Kanban. These posts will be short, to the point, and very much focused on rapidly embedding the new behaviour I want to instill and rapidly adjusting any aspects of the new mechanism that are not working. My prose might therefore not be as flowing as it usually is. Expect lots of bullets, and short and sharp sentences! 😉

Expressed in Agile terminology: I plan to have a sprint length of 1 day. These blog posts will fulfill the role of sprint planning, review and retrospective, all rolled into one. So let’s get right to it!

What is my goal?

  • I intend to grade for my brown belt (Shotokan karate) in October.
  • To achieve that, I need to attend karate class consistently (no skipping!) and put in extra training time inbetween classes.
  • I also need to lift my general strength and fitness by a couple of notches to have the stamina for what will be a very tough grading exam.

What did I plan to do on Day 1? (Sprint 1)

  • I set out to build a simple two-column kanban, using magnetized cards for each of the key elements of the training programme I have to maintain from now until October. This took me all of 15 minutes to do. CHECK.
  • I wanted the design to be flexible. There is no explicit order in which these elements have to be done, as long as I do all of them every week, except for the Extra? card, which is a “stretch” training session that I can use for extra karate or fitness work, depending on what I need in any given week – or leave out, if I feel I’ve done enough already. CHECK.
Mommy Dojo Kanban - Simple and Flexible

Mommy Dojo Kanban – Simple and Flexible


What worked on Day 1?

  • I got up and went to the gym! 
  • I knocked off two cards: Gym x 1 + Upper Body

What did not work on Day 1?

  • I left to go to the gym too late!
  • As a result, I could not start or finish the Karate 1 Hour card, as I had planned.

What am I changing and why?

  • Definitely I’m splitting the Karate 1 Hour card into two separate 30 minute cards. This way, I can still achieve something, even if I don’t have a full hour. Why? I’m nervous that, if I leave it like this, I’ll keep putting it off until I have that rare “single perfect hour” and then run out of time this week.
  • Maybe I think I also need to add another actual class to my schedule, preferably training with more senior belts. Why? Training against stronger karateka will help me up my game quite quickly. (It might also kill me). But … I don’t want to be too hasty. I’ll think about this change for now, and see whether I manage to fit the rest of the training into one week or not, before I add more training.

That’s it for tonight, folks. Tomorrow I reflect on Day 2.

I would be very happy to hear from any blog followers of Personal Kanban practitioners as I go. Suggestions and questions are very welcome.


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4 Responses to Mommy Dojo Kanban: Day 1 – Set up and Get up!

  1. I love the idea of incorporating Kanban into the family life… Kids, I use Scrum at work for our team and am starting to use Kanban individually on my work items (I am the scrum master). I also want to start using the framework for home to get my life more organized (maybe the kids)…. I love how you are doing a single day sprint with all of the “meetings” in one post. Great idea!!

    • Hi Lou,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! There are so many ways in which Scrum and Kanban have helped our family. The simplicity and visibility of the approaches lend themselves to quick introduction and fun applications. For example, we don’t use the terminology for “sprint planning”, “retrospective” and “review” at all. We have woven these conversations into dinner time, but still ask the questions, e.g. “What worked this morning? How did we manage to get to school so early?”

      And for me, as manager of an Agile team at work, there is great satisfaction in seeing my kids develop self-reflection and self-organization as a result of our home applications of the framework, since I know those skills will provide a foundation for life and work for them.


  2. Just got back from Agile2014, where I presented a workshop on Personal Kanban. I made mention of you and your family and recommended people read your blog. Also, you’ve inspired me to do a PK daily blog for a week. Let’s see how that works out. 🙂

    • Hi Derek

      Nice to hear from you! The Agile2014 programme looked great. I dipped into the tweetstream when I could, and favorited a few things to delve into later when Karen and Sam (from Growing Agile) are back home. And thanks for spreading the PK love. The more, the merrier. 🙂

      Good luck with the blog-a-day. It’s been quite hard, I found. Day 4 – I wound up posting past midnight. Day 5 – I suspect it was only fear of failure that made me post at all. 😉 Now, for Day 6!


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