5 Feb

A Quick Agile Family Update

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If you read French (or can wade through Google Translator’s version of English) then you may read an interview I did recently with the folks over at Elapse Technologies, a Quebec-based agility training and coaching organization.

Here is a link to the interview.

It?s Not About Chores

For some time I have been meaning to point out that getting chores done is the least valuable aspect of what we do with agile practices in our family. That?s the checklist stuff that just has to happen. The daily grind of chores sucks, so:

  1. Admit it and move on.
  2. Find a way to deal with chores that involves the least amount of bribery and extrinsic motivation as possible. Good luck.
  3. Remove chore discussions from the Weekly Family Meeting if at all possible.

Don?t Forget the Point

The conversations that matter most are those that happen around what we are working on together as a Shared Family Goal for the week. We started keeping a little card in the middle of our dining table to remind us each night to discuss how we?re all doing on the family goal. It can usually be referenced in an emergency due to the location of the table, too Smile.


This Shared Family Goal card is sitting on my dining table right now.

If you are trying agile practices with your family, focus first on having a Shared Family Goal that has nothing to do with chores. Our Shared Family Goal is something that can hopefully be intrinsically motivating, and doesn?t need bribery to evoke passion in people. Some of our recent family goals included:

  • Learning formal manners for dinner times
  • Exhibiting calm even when we feel anxious
  • Learning to build your own CAT 5 cables (I know, I know)
  • Talk through the day before leaving for school and work

Chores often do require external motivation, even for me. For me, cleaning the dishes just isn?t intrinsically rewarding and spending valuable energy optimizing it is time that could be better spent elsewhere.