Scrum For Kids Lightning Round


One of the things I most appreciate about Agile process it its iterative nature. In that way Scrum, just like Trix, was made for who kids are today.  Change (growth) is the primary function of children.  These little creatures have full time jobs growing up.  Add the responsibilities that all our homes and schools ask of them, and it is easy for children and their families to become overwhelmed by extension.

I offer some initial thoughts about Scrum For Kids from the perspective of a mom and teacher.  I am not and never have been a geek.  If you want the analytics, or retrospective of user productivity, or a pretty pie-chart graph, please see Joe.  I will speak to my constant point of hope and focus:  the intentional co-architecture of children (who in our house every day pick up their own hammers to help construct their characters and pictures of quality and value).

What is a Scrum Wall?

scrum wall is a designated space in your home that stages the family’s tasks communication center.  This is where tasks are identified and date stamped.  The Scrum Wall in our house is a cork wall in the laundry room.  This works very well for us as we most commonly enter and leave the house via this room, and, as such, is a constant point of family movement and focus.  Each team member has a space on the wall or board that shows his required tasks on cards.  Cards are moved sequentially to correspond with where the child is in relation to its completion:  Not Started, In Progress or Done.  Family Standup Meetings regularly call the group’s attention to where each team member is in his process, identify lids that roadblock task completion and celebrate accomplishments.  We have Standup every morning before the kids leave for school.

Also called:  the wall, the board, scrum wall, task board

What is a card?

Cards describe tasks and are placed on the Scrum Wall.  We use business-card-sized card stock for our wall.  Task cards or cards identify the team member responsible for the task, the task, and the required completion date.

We generally have two types of cards on our board:  iterative and ad hoc.  Iterative cards identify tasks that repeat such as study for spelling quiz, spelling quiz, practice violin.  Ad hoc cards identify unique tasks that are assigned to team members and do not recur, for example, Native American Project, Prepare Persuasive Speech, etc.  We also use ad hoc cards to hold invitations to birthday parties and special events.

What is a Standup Meeting?

A Standup Meeting is when the family team meets to discuss where each member is on their tasks.  In our house, we iterate weekly.  That is to say, we load the board anew each Sunday night and run that board through the week.  We meet in front of the board every morning before the kids go to school.  As the name implies, we stand during Standup.  Later, I’ll tell you more specific protocol our family employs, but for now the basics are these:  During a Standup Meeting our family faces the board, listens to each person as they take his turn updating the team on his progress and moves his cards, offer support if helpful when lids are identified or problems encountered and celebrate each others accomplishments.  We often clap or high five each other.  Our meetings are brief and we strive for a consistently positive and upbeat, and fluid tone. We end our meeting with a family cheer.

What are Lids?

Lids are difficulties or roadblocks encountered by team members that slow down or impede task completion.  Examples of such roadblocks might include lack of supplies, a soccer practice the same night before a major test, being sick, etc.  Once identified, it is the Scrum Master’s role to help alleviate lids for the team.   In our house, Joe is the Scrum Master.

What is a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is the party identified to run Standup Meetings and oversee the task completion by the team.  S/he is responsible for addressing team lids, keeping Standups brief and positive, recognizing team accomplishments, organizing team celebrations and facilitating team retrospectives.  It is the Scrum Master’s job to help kids use the wall as a tool of independence and power.

What does iterative mean?

Quite simply iterate means to say or do again, to repeat.  We classify Scrum For Kids as an iterative process because it manages tasks we must do and do again.  This core idea of Scrum For Kids identifies the tasks our children must do and repeat, be it brushing teeth, emptying the dishwasher or reading four chapters of an assigned novel.  Scrum For Kids creates a family communication board that helps kids see what tasks they are responsible for completing and by when they must complete them.

Furthermore, Scrum For Kids is iterative in the real way our children themselves are iterative, i.e.; constantly growing and changing.   As children and families grow, so do the tasks demanded of them.  For this reason, the Scrum Wall changes in response to the correspond to the age of the children and the tasks asked of them.

What kind of learners benefit from Scrum For Kids?

All types of learners benefit from Scrum for Kids.  This wonderful benefit is one of the things that gives Scrum more juice than oranges.  It works for kids where they are and speaks to who they are in their own learning language to complement their own strengths.

Check it out:

  • Linguistic (“word smart”) learner: cards publish tasks, responsible party and due date, members report their progress in daily Stand Up Meeting
  • Logical-mathematical (“number/reasoning smart”) learner: cards show quantity of tasks to be completed and measure interval of time to accomplish each task
  • Spatial (“picture smart”) learner: cards are spatially displayed to create a weekly word picture of tasks assigned to a family team
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic (“body smart”) learner: cards are physically moved as a task goes through completion cycle, family stands for Stand Up Meeting, family cheers and high fives
  • Musical (“music smart”) learner: Family cheer, musical instrument practice cards
  • Interpersonal (“people smart”) learner: Teams meet daily to celebrate each other’s accomplishments in Stand Up Meetings
  • Intrapersonal (“self smart”) learner: Individuals have constant point-of reference on the board for self-monitoring, study, reflection, planning and celebration.
  • Naturalist (“nature smart”) learner: Interative process parallels seasonal progression of calendar year as well as the life cycle of plants and animals.  The constant focus of the Scrum Wall and Biology are the same:  life systems.

Why do Moms like Scrum For Kids?

Long answer short, it gets me off my kids backs and out of the role of bad cop in need of a donut fix.

Why do Kids like Scrum For Kids?

Long answer short, it gets our parents off our backs and offers us some freedom and independence in our own school and extracurricular responsibilities.

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