Agile Life Management?

Last Wednesday, I attended the Utah Geek Dinner and heard David Spann and Alistair Cockburn speak about Agile-Adaptive Project Management. On Monday, Ernie Nielsen, another prominent member of the project management community taught Agile in my BYU project management class.

The principles of the Agile Manifesto seem to also map with life management well. For example:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • This seems to apply to everyday life in that individuals and interactions bring more value, happiness, and productivity to life than the processes and tools.
  • Working Software over comprehensive documentation
    • Okay, this one doesn’t seem to map as well, but if anyone has any ideas, let me know.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • It’s not what others can do for me, it’s what I can do for others.
  • Responding to change over following a plan
    • Flexibility is a must when it comes to life management. Life now days is fast, and we have to be agile as life requirements are constantly changing from under us.

Other principles from Agile that I think are relevant to life include continuous improvement, and MoSCoW.

Continuous Improvement. Agile focuses on applying lessons learned to the next iteration. If every day is an iteration, we can look at our day, alone or with a spouse, at the end of the day and discuss what went well and what didn’t. Apply the lessons learned during the next day.

MoSCoW. In Agile Project Management, MoSCoW is ranking project requirements into priorities for the next iteration. In the acronym, the M,S,C, and W stand for Must, Should, Could, and Won’t.

If we compare an iteration to a day or week of our life, depending on how we want to break up our iterations, we can separate our to-do lists into must dos, should dos, could dos, and won’t dos. To try this out, make a list of all the things that you would like to or need to do. Reorganize the list into MoSCoW. Make sure you put some could dos into iteration, or you’ll go crazy. After the iteration, reorganize the remaining and new tasks into MoSCoW for the next iteration and go at it again.

2 thoughts on “Agile Life Management?”

  1. >Working Software over comprehensive documentation
    It maps very well. People don’t spend time doing analysis, risk management etc. for most decisions. If you find a new kind of juice you will just try it out and throw it out if you don’t like it…

    I don’t believe that explicit use of the planing game (MoSCoW) will provide much value, however, making todo lists and prioritizing tasks is what we do all the time. Just not in a structured way as done in agile development.

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