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Agile Programming for Your Family

Agile programming – what is that and how am I going to program my family? No silly. This is about using this programming methodology to find ways to better organize your family.

Using Agile Programming for Your Family Meetings

I ran across this TED talk with Bruce Feiler talking about how agile programming can work for your family. I found it fascinating. I have a husband who uses this programing methodology so was familiar with the concept, but didn’t get how this could work for our family – until I watched the video.

Here is the basic concept:  Inspired by agile software programming, Feiler introduces family practices which encourage flexibility, bottom-up idea flow, constant feedback and accountability. One surprising feature: Kids pick their own punishments. 

family meetings talk to kids

What is Agile Programming?

For some background on Agile programming, here is how wikipedia describes it:

Agile software development is a set of software development methods in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

Agile Programming for Families

If you are a software programmer or engineer, you are most likely familiar with the Agile methodology. The idea here is taking the Agile framework and learning how to use Agile programming for your family.

Personally, my husband is a engineer who uses this methodology. We have successfully used this to facilitate family meetings. We also have used this to help one of our kids who became behind in some of his classes and had a ton of class work to make up.

Ted Agile Programming For Your Family

Learn about Agile Programming for your family the way I did. This Ted Talk from Bruce Feiler gives a great overview of how this could work for you and your family.

Random notes from Bruce Feiler’s video on agile programming for families…..

Our children senses that we are out of control.

The kids number one wish that their parents be less tired and less stressed.

What can we do to cause less stress and draw our family closer, while prepare our children for the real world?

Agile development: In agile, workers are organized in small groups and do things in small amounts of time.  Weekly reviews, daily feedback….  So bring this into the home with a family meeting.

Bruce started these meetings with his twin 5-year old daughters.

Meetings should take under 20 minutes.

Most successful companies are flexible.

Do things in small chunks. How can you move this philosophy into your family’s life?

Everyone is accountable.

Identify the problem and find out how you can solve the issue.

You can’t under estimate the power of the checkmark.

Introduce a check list.

What worked well. What didn’t work well. What are we going to work on the week ahead?

3 years later, Bruce is still holding these meetings.

AGILE – 12 point Agile manifesto.

3 planks.


Be flexible and adapt. React in real-time. Break parents out of straight jacket that only gurus know the answers. Be open-minded let the best idea win.


Enlist your children in their own upbringing. Parental authority, but giving them guidance for independence – which is what we all need to do for our kids.

agile development for family
agile development family - Agile Programming for Your Family

Kids that plan their own goals, take more control over their lives. Let kids succeed and FAIL on their own terms.


Define your mission and your core values. Create a family mission statement. What’s important to your family and your family’s values.

Spend less time on what you did wrong – focus on what you did right.

Family mission statement identifies what you do right.

Put the family mission statement on the wall.

Tell your story – where did your family come from.. Explain family history and legacy.

What’s the secret to a happy family? Try.

Bruce Feiler – Secrets of Happy Families

Bruce Feiler - Secrets of Happy Families

Read Bruce Feiler’s book – The Secrets of Happy Families – Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More available at Amazon