Family self-organization

Posted by Doc
Aug 10 2010

I was talking with my brother the other day. He has gotten his iPhone 4 (after standing in line for 5 hours in the middle of the night in Melbourne). Now he has a dilemma – one iPhone 3G and two daughters.

We banged the challenge around for a while. We approached it in typical parental fashion, exploring the tradeoffs and options. Give the phone to one, money to the other. But one has six months to go on her contract and the other has a year. All the details, all the challenges, the concern that one or the other or both would be unhappy with him because no matter what he does…

I’m sure you get it.

Finally, my brother said that he was willing to put up the phone and some money. The question is, which to which. Phone, money, two girls.

As we walked down the street together talking, it occurred to me that I was ignoring all the things I’ve been learning, teaching, and doing. When I teach Agile fundamentals, I include a session of the Agile Lego Game, which along with it’s other lessons clearly demonstrates the concept of self-organization.

With this in mind, and knowing that my nieces are smart and that they like each other, I said “Put the phone and the money on the table and let them work it out.”

After all, I’ve seen it demonstrated over and over – give people the chance to work together and figure things out, and the odds are that they will.

I’ll let you know how things go with my nieces. 😉

3 Responses

  1. Agile Lego Game?

    Games that teach a lesson are by their nature usually quite instructive. The problem with them is that there is usually no incentive to replay them.

    I’ve actually been looking for games/activities that foster team/relationship building and don’t seem contrived.

    • Doc says:

      I love the Agile Lego Game, of course. Fun, repeatable, and great learning. I’ve come up with a few others to teach concepts/practices like pairing, refactoring, and CI that don’t involve coding in order to make them more accessible.

  2. […] That’s part of what I liked about my exchange with my brother the other day (see “Family Self-organization“). As a brief follow-up, when my brother said to his daughters “I’m offering my […]

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