How Agile/Kanban helped us getting closer as a family

Sometime ago I watched a movie about Agile programming for families at That talk inspired me. Since we embrace new ideas as family, we decided to introduce a Kanban in our kitchen. The Kanban definately helped us getting closer as a family.

Introducing the Kanban
A Kanban is Japanese for a 'visual board' that is split in vertical swim lanes. Each swim lane represents the state of a family activity. In the morning we sum up our activities which are written on the post-its. Since our youngest is 3 years she draws the activities.. The kids prioritize the day by sorting the activities based on their view, sometimes with a little help.

'Failing fast'!
The first day was quite exhausting with too many things, dinner at 20:00 and asleep too late J. Yet, we all learned a lot and the next day was much more convenient already. We ‘failed fast’. Below you see the result just after the introduction. It took the kids 10 minutes to understand the way of working.


The Kanban brought understanding
Their level of engagement and understanding was surprising. They so much better understand the activities to run a family day. Since they understand what needs to be done they intrinsically contribute. They even want to prepare meals now. Jointly caring.

Acting with the heart and mind
We have not defined any roles as we act with our hearts and minds, rather than predefined roles tell us so. The board is updated by the kids. Since the board is integral part of the day it simply doesn’t feel right when the post-it’s are in the wrong place. We have said goodbye to extrinsically motivating stuff, such as rewards. They simply do what needs to be done. We now start experimenting with a second Kanban for longer term activities, such as birthdays, family visits, weekend trips and holidays.

Scaled Agility at school
Given my interest in large scaled Agility, I’m curious what happens with groups of children that need to collaborate while each group has their own joint perception (=shared mental model). I'm now preparing a scaled Agile experiment at school to understand the dynamics when groups of children need to collaborate, while having different perceptions. So much to learn from our young ones.

Tags: scrum agile kanban family children learning