About

My name is Maritza van den Heuvel. I’m the co-author of Beyond Agile – Tales of Continuous Improvement, a 2-year labor of love I wrote with Jim Benson and Joanne Ho. I’m also an experienced Scrum Master and Product Owner.

I first came into contact with Scrum and Agile as QA Lead working for a learning technologies company.  We evolved from doing software development using the waterfall approach to agile (scrum) over  a period of four years and learnt many lessons about what it means to be agile along the way. We also dabbled with Lean techniques for a while. I have since moved on to the education industry, where I am using my background in Agile (Scrum) and Lean (Kanban) to help transform traditional workflows to iterative, customer-focused cycles.

Through it all, I have come to embrace the power of visualization and systems thinking to drive continuous improvement through learning, irrespective of domain or context. That includes my family.

As a busy mom with the ongoing challenge of keeping family life organized with my husband – from arranging kids’ activities and school stuff, to planning out our financial goals and priorities – I have found these approaches to managing work equally applicable to managing life through Personal Kanban.

On this blog you will read about my ongoing Personal Kanban experiments at work and at home. I’m brutally honest about both success and failure, and I love to learn from you as much as I hope you will take something away from this blog. So do take a few minutes to share your thoughts before you go!

May the Flow be with you.

9 Responses to About

  1. Ron Kimura says:

    Hi Maritza,

    What a great idea! I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate Agile into my life and seeing what your doing has given me reassurance that it can be done! Awesome stuff! I look forward to your upcoming posts!

    • maritzavdh says:

      Hi, Ron. I’m glad if our experiments are helping you. I usually post two or three times a month, so there will definitely be more.

  2. Agile Scout says:

    Keep pushing great content!

    • Thanks, Peter! Coming from you, the support means a lot. This year it’s been tough to get into a regular posting schedule, but that’s set to change soon. Have some posts ready to go, just waiting for the “Publish” button. 😉

  3. Editor says:

    Hi Maritza,

    Just a quick note to say we mentioned your site’s post about Agile families at:

    http://www.klariti.com/project-plan/secret-happy-families/

    Regards,

    Ivan

    • Hi Ivan,

      Thanks for the lovely reference. I’m so pleased that you pointed out that using Agile in families is not about turning kids into little task droids. One of the things that bothered me about the original Feiler piece in the WSJ were all the “business” and “programming” references.

      It’s about the principles of working together, taking responsibility and communicating, and Agile techniques happen to be a really practical (and fun!) way of teaching these principles.

      Regards,
      Maritza

      • Editor says:

        You’re right, Maritza, in that it’s the underlying framework that’s interesting.

        Actually, in a strange twist of fate, our BAs both have just left our company and I’ve been giving a chance to explore Agile and see where/how we can adapt it. Just odd the way the timing worked out.

        Love the site and have added it to my Feedly list 🙂

        Best regards,

        Ivan

  4. Dear Maritza,

    I discovered your blog quite recently and I am quite fascinated as it corresponds to what I would like to achiev with mine, that I started a few weeks ago.
    I fully agree that the delivery and project management skills and techniques that we re applying at work every day can definitely be of huge help when it comes to managing a household and undertaking persnoal projects.
    I would love to obtain your feedback on my blog sometime in order to benefit from our experience 🙂 homegeekconsultant.com- feel free to pass by if you have time!

    All the best,
    Thibaud – homegeek

    • Hi Thibaud,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’ve done the same on your About page on homegeek. 🙂

      I was in fact aware of your new blog. I check in with my blog stats every few weeks, and I noticed quite a bit of traffic coming from this new and very interesting-looking agile family blog called homegeek. Checking it out properly already had a card on my Personal Kanban, so I smiled when I saw your request for my feedback.

      I’ve read a few of your posts, and I like your writing style. It’s engaging and down-to-earth. And fun. 😉 The layout is also great. I found myself easily moving from the one to the other. In fact, I spent too much time reading there, when I should have been completing a new post here! If you’re looking for advice, just something that immediately springs to mind:

      Don’t start too big – Although you may want to design all parts of the system and use it right away, perhaps start in one area only, or focus on weekends/weeks or some other contained area. You don’t need another thing to beat yourself up about if it doesn’t quite work out as designed. Better yet, take a “user story” approach. Always ask yourself why you or your wife are using the system/tool and what the benefit is. It must always be valuable – even if that means reducing some parts of the system when you find that you don’t really use them that much.

      And most importantly – enjoy the peace that comes with having your household mischief managed. 🙂

      All the best,
      Maritza

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