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Agile – A Practice and Principle: My Relocation Account

Coordinated incremental development integrated with a stream of value propositions, has become the hallmark for project implementations.

No wonder! This method of driving project deliverables is being used in various processes and by me for my relocation.

Here is a high-level account of my relocation using the agile methodology and principles starting with a two-week sprint. First, my Sprint included a plan to hash-out what needed to be done, how it was going to be done, resources needed when it was going to be done and specific descriptions of my success criteria for each task completed. I continually performed reviews of my tasks when completed to gauge my definition of done and to ensure a stream of improvement in tasks performance. I performed a one-person stand up in the mornings before going to work to understand the prior task, impediments and what/how fixes that needed to be done to address setbacks. In a nutshell, this was how my agile relocation took place and here is my detailed account starting with Sprint Planning.

My Sprint Planning

As an Agile enthusiast, my curiosity led me to apply agile in my relocation project. As a result, I defined my work by identifying my to-do tasks as followed;

  1. Provide and define a theme
  2. Identified services to transfer and services cancel
  3. Contract negotiations and re-negotiations
  4. Decide duration of the sprint (one week or two weeks)
  5. Create my backlog and add my stories
  6. Tasking my stories
  7. Assigning a budget
  8. Identify additional resources needed besides me
  9. Select and identify needed tools
  10. Manage communication and scheduling
  11. Manage and provide my resources with their needs (food, accommodation, and comfort, etc.)

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You could tell I wore many hats for this project, but the focus of this article is to provide insight on how the planning for each sprint went, what got accomplished and what my takeaway is from applying Agile to my relocation.

Week One – Sprint One

At this point, I was ready to embark on the first sprint once I had tasked my stories and committed to working them. My tasks were categorized as small, medium and large representing the story sizes. Some of the tasks performed included sourcing empty boxes from Walmart to cut cost as suggested by my older sister. I had a task to visit Walmart to collect boxes which had to be done very early in the morning. My sister is always strategic when it comes to cost saving technics, and as such, I stole some few ideas from her. I ended up with more boxes than I anticipated which saved me over a hundred dollars that ordinarily would have been spent on purchasing same items from U-Haul. I also performed a clean out of the old house by identifying things that could be given out and boxed them up. With the clean out done, I organized my belongings one room after the other and categorized each room’s content. At the end of week one, I had already boxed, moved, and set up about 50% of my belongings at the new place while having services situated simultaneously. The idea of moving boxed items whenever I had a service set up at the new location, made it quite easy for me to incrementally perform my tasks. That way, the return in value, cost and time was very significant. It is also worthy of note that, all tasks were time boxed meaning completion of the task was based on story size, commitment, complexity and return on value.

Week Two- Sprint 2

In week two I focused on moving the larger items like chairs, bedroom cabinets, office table, center table, washer, and dryer. Obviously, I called a few favors from some friends to assist with the heavy items. As part of my week two sprint task, I requested for a vacation, made an early reservation for a moving van and set up my security system install for a day before my vacation. As I recall, after work on the day before my vacation, I drove straight to the new place, and the technician showed up exactly 20 minutes after that. Again, I could move and sort my belongings while the technician set up my security system for the house. My refrigerator was delivered on the same day I set up the alarm. In all, I had three major high priority tasks completed in one day.

On the morning of the move, after picking up the reserved van, it took my team of three about 45 minutes to load up the van and another 45 minutes to offload it at the new location. We split the task in a fashion that had resources focusing on areas of strength and proficiency. Judging by my break down, about 85 – 90% of the relocation was managed and completed with no complications. When we did run into issues, the framework allowed great flexibility that in turn put us on track. Though one can never be done with a move within the first week, I could proudly say, the place was livable and well sorted. Agile remains a viable framework for all processes/practices, and I can attest to its relevance to moving.

Summary and Takeaway

In all, here are some points to think about as you plan your next move or process;

  1. Iterative planning and prioritization always provide insight along with needed manageability of tasks
  2. Secondly, care and respect for people is what is needed to drive productivity especially when people are helping you in a process
  3. Always plan for the unforeseen. It is pertinent to be responsive versus reactive as being flexible is a necessary ingredient for agile framework application
  4. Maintain principle and standards. Capacity and velocity management are very critical to agile success. Do not compromise your deliverable by over tasking
  5. Every task should add value that leads to the overall goal or objective
  6. Understand and manage dependencies
  7. Know the strengths of your resources
  8. Convert weaknesses to opportunity

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