Treat Your Kids Like Agile Software Developers And Lower Stress

Raising a family can often feel like unfettered chaos. Author Bruce Feiler says that we can learn a lot from software developers using the "agile" philosophy.

Agile development, for those unfamiliar, is a method of software development based on self-governance (as opposed to an executive "top down" approach) and working in small spans of time, so people can get quick feedback and respond to changes. Feiler says that families can benefit from this same idea: by bringing your children into the process of "running the house", everyone gets constant feedback and stays accountable for their actions. His kids even pick their own punishments... which seems a little crazy, but it seems to work for them.

It's a good talk, and as with most things, you don't need to follow his method to a T. It's a good example of how communication between family members can reduce stress and make the family "gears" run a little smoother. Check out the video above for the full talk.

Bruce Feiler: Agile programming — for your family [TED]


    Even as a developer I find Agile to be at least mostly bullshit. It's basically a way for people to do what they want, when they want, without any of the usual checks and balances. But guess what. Those checks and balances are there for reasons, reasons that probably have nothing to do with how they want to develop and more to do with the larger management ecosystem..

    Can you be more productive when you just "do shit" ? Of course you can. That's not at all the point.

    Last edited 21/03/13 12:19 am

      I agree with you to a certain extent. Although I may be confused on what agile development is about, because I never thought it was a way for developers to do what they want, but for the development process to adapt to the fact that the client doesn't really understand what they want or what they're asking for, so the waterfall approach doesn't work.

      Ok, I'll bite.

      Agile is only 'mostly bullshit' when you a) don't understand Agile, or b) implement it for the sake of being the coolest kid in town (a sad managerial mistake at many organisations).

      Having worked in my fair share of both traditional and Agile projects, the success/failure of delivery generally comes down to the people involved, rather than the process. However, Agile - when everyone is bought into it - allows for smaller, quicker, less risky changes and a culture of continuously improving things a bit at a time rather than throwing everything into a 12 month project that tries to change the world and does nothing in the meantime.

      Ogre has it spot on - the client doesn't know what they want until they see it. So showing them piece by piece and giving them a chance to influence its direction is far better than building a shonky prototype or worse, showing them at the end of the project like a proud 3 year old who has drawn a picture of mummy and daddy on the wall for them!

      Agile is mostly bullshit, but not for the reasons you state.

    So we use management methodologies to run our families, and our lives like software projects?

    Stay the hell away from my kids, buddy.

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