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Home renovation in an agile way

I started the renovation of my home in an agile way, based on the Agile Manifesto. I did the work in sprints, in short iterations.

The project


This sounds at first like trying to force some new "trendy" project methodology on something, but it's not. So much so that when I started I didn't even know I was doing it agile. I had to point it out to a friend of mine who is also a scrum master. That's when I realised that I was probably already unconsciously thinking in short iterations. And of course there was no mistake about agile, because it's in the Agile Manifesto: "Build a project for success-oriented individuals! Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done." - I have never had a problem with success orientation and trusted myself to get the job done. After all, delegation is not a black-and-white, two-way street. There are many "shades of grey" between dictator and anarchist.


The sprints


The fact is that my favourite little apartment is getting old. It's been 6 years since it was last painted. I wouldn't have actually renewed it if I'd had my heart set on it, but I had/have three problems:


  1. There was a crack in one wall so big that my finger was halfway in;
  2. The tiles were starting to peel off the wall;
  3. In the kitchen, the foil was peeling off the cupboard.


I couldn't bear to look at the cracks any more, so one sunny October day, I woke up and said enough is enough (the first sprint had begun)! Before I knew it, I had unpacked the room. I quickly ran out to buy paint and quilting film, gluing, sanding, painting, repacking. It took me 5 days to paint it, but it was done (end of the first sprint). 


A month or two passed (which is not the case in an agile project), when, inspired by the success of the previous project, I fixed the cracks in the toilet and painted it. I should have pinned the Agile Manifesto on the work earlier, because it says: "The team regularly reflects on its own operations and considers ways to improve efficiency, and tunes and adjusts its operations accordingly." - I saw in hindsight that it would have been more efficient to start in the smallest room, because I could have used the experience to paint the larger room better. But it was the other way round. After three hours of time after a working day, it was ready with a relatively small investment of energy (end of second sprint). “It is important that sponsors, developers and users are able to keep a steady pace." - this was absolutely well established, although I was also the sponsor, developer and user, so there was a lot of agreement. 


Then again a few months passed (Agile Manifesto, point 3: "Deliver working software every few weeks or months, preferably with more frequent delivery!" - regular delivery every few months seems to have worked for me), and the living room rearrangement I dreamed of a year ago was done, along with the replacement of the hallway furniture.


The natural consequence of this - for me - is that, since some furniture in both rooms has been taken off the wall, I won't be looking at the holes, I'll have to smooth them out. If I'm going to plaster it, I'm going to paint it, so it was obvious at this point that this was going to be the start of another sprint. The rearrangement was going to involve moving a lot of stuff to the other room, once that was done, why would I bring it back to pack it up again and take it away before painting, because I know "Simplicity (the art of eliminating unnecessary work) and minimizing the amount of work that needs to be done is essential)". So sometimes I'll have a wall painted before work, it dries out during the day, I sand it down after work, and I'm ready to paint. "Technical excellence and keeping a good plan in mind at all times increases agility." - says the Agile Manifesto, well, mindfulness, needless to say, is not a problem either, I can see my progress every day the third sprint I can say that technical excellence is in place. 



The retrospective


Yes, I know that only one of the three problems has been solved, but "We accept that the requirements may change even towards the end of development. Agile processes turn change into a competitive advantage for the customer." - says the second point of the Agile Manifesto, and here too the "customer requirement" has changed in the meantime because after the most pressing problem, the smallest was the most obvious, and then the pandemic situation meant that there was space for a desk in the living room. Or: "Working software is the primary measure of progress". Progress? Yes! This is also an important factor, because the to-do list is getting narrower, so I'm not sad! It's true that there is a loss of time because of the breaks, but it was up to me not to start the premises one after the other. Anyway, I think it's easier this way because there's always a livable space that isn't dirty and dusty, and there's somewhere to put things that are in the way, and it was the most comfortable for me. But, as the first point of the Agilie Manifesto says: "We make it our priority to achieve customer satisfaction by delivering working software quickly and consistently". I'll be sitting back in my "new" living room and "new" hallway, probably by the end of the week. I wish you all similarly successful Agile projects! 


The article was written by our guest author: Simon Claudia , Scrum Master


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