Teaching Agile to a 5-Yr-Old

If you ever thought it was too early to teach your children Agile terminology or good management/leadership skills, you can stop now.  I wanted to teach our 5-year-old son a few new concepts.  If you can teach a 5-year-old, you should be able to teach a 45-year-old....right?  Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.  I actually think kids grasp these concepts better than adults.  They don't have years of baggage to contend with. Now, let me preface the bulk of my post by saying, that at age 5, I could not read at all!  I think our son's teacher has done an amazing job of getting the kids in her classroom reading at the level they do.

So, what is our goal?  Our son's Kindergarten teacher sent home a "by the minute reading log".  She identified how many minutes of reading she wanted each student to read in a month.  For February, the target was 50 minutes.  At first, our son acted very overwhelmed.

Oh Daddy, 50 minutes is SO much!

I assured him, he had a whole month to get there.  Let's call this month a timebox.  In the timebox, the teacher wants you to finish as many stories as you can in the time given.  That's it!  Now, some stories are going to be harder than others.  But, let's focus on doing a little bit at a time and getting each story done.

To really understand the complexity of these stories, they were written for a 5-year-old.  They only take about 5 minutes to read.  So, each story will equal 5 minutes.  To make it fun, let's use story points instead of minutes!

The last concept I wanted him to grasp was velocity.  Velocity is the number of story points we can get in the timebox.  Just know, you don't get credit if you don't finish a story!

If you look at the "reading log" image, you'll see our actual total velocity was 120.  The stakeholder in all of this, his Kindergarten teacher, would be happy if our velocity was a mere 50.

What was really exciting was telling our son, by the end of week 2, that he had met his goal.  If the stakeholder is satisfied with the 50 point velocity, I think we will start having a FedEx Day once a week.  Just like my teams, I don't want to burn him out.  We need to find a balance and a stable velocity everyone can be happy with.


Imagine if this was you and your team.