Agile Homeschool Update

Last year, I wrote about how we use an agile approach for homeschool. Since then, we’ve refined our approach. This school year, we updated our board to reflect some of those changes.

Agile Homeschool Board 1

Agile Homeschool Board 2

A few things to note about our board:

  1. We have a Scheduled swim lane at the top for calendar items that will affect how much other schoolwork we can plan in a day. Usually music lessons, bike practice, and field trips end up here. These cards don’t move, they just help everyone avoid overcommitting.
  2. There’s a swimlane for things that need to be done together. In the morning, everyone will agree when to do this. When our boys were younger, this swimlane was much more full. These days, work is more independent.
  3. The remaining four swimlanes are for individual work. My wife, Dawn, and each of our three boys have their own lanes. Each day, they pull from two input queue columns—the one for the day, which is work that has to be done that day, and the Anytime column, which is work that just needs to happen sometime that week.
  4. Though we don’t call it out on the board, we have a WIP limit of 1 per person on Doing.
  5. In the individual swimlanes, color indicates policy and work item type. Pink cards can go straight to Done. Yellow cards need to go to Ready for Review. Dawn or I will review the work and either move it to Done or add a corrections sticky to the original sticky and move it back into an input queue. Orange cards are chores rather than schoolwork.

Every Friday afternoon, we plan for the next week and refill the board. This takes a little while, so we’ve made the board so it hangs on hooks in the laundry room and can be moved. That way, we can plan somewhere more comfortable.

The core of the board is still the standard Planned → In Progress → Done workflow, but we’ve added variations that allow us to make better decisions about what to do at any particular moment.

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  1. Love it Richard. I wish I had been more diligent about this when my kids were younger. We used a backlog to build a house but didn’t even think of a task board way back then. The cool thing though, when my older daughter went off to college she texted me a picture of her Scrum Board and post-its on her window.

Richard Lawrence

Is co-owner of Agile For All. He trains and coaches teams and organizations to become happier and more productive. He draws on a diverse background in software development, engineering, anthropology, and political science. Richard is a Scrum Alliance Certified Enterprise Coach and Certified Scrum Trainer, as well as a certified trainer of the accelerated learning method, Training from the Back of the Room.

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