Agile shopping list - literally

Simple definition:
'backlog': "A list of items to do".
  Official definition:
back•log   /ˈbækˌlɔg, -ˌlɒg/ Show Spelled [bak-lawg, -log] noun, verb

1. a reserve or accumulation, as of stock, work, or business: a backlog of business orders.
verb (used with object)
2. to hold in reserve, as for future handling or repair.

My five year old wrote his first shopping list
Many a times we take requirements superficially and ignore the essence and value of a backlog. A considerable majority of us create to do lists, task lists, work logs, backlogs, activity lists or something similar for various personal and professional reasons.
To assess the scope of what we have to do or to remember the things to do, using a checklist is a faily common practice.
My five year old wrote his first list recently and it gave me numerous points to ponder from agile and lean transformation paradigm.
The initial question that popped up was whether to correct his spellings while he is trying to get the grasp of phonics based language constructs or to use common analytic sense and let him gain initial confidence?

I am glad that the choice of enjoying the moment proved fruitful as he is much more confident after the event.

Bringing this back into perspective, mature agile teams master the skill of living on uncertainty. With regular observations of the actual  product ownership function - the imperfect assumptions are quickly exposed. The added benefit is that no lengthy and detailed documentation is created or maintained.

 As facebook recently mentioned, "Code wins arguments"

Annotated list to clarify the stories
The customer and the team are flexible enough to build sand castles regularly and only convert the sections into concrete after actual observation from the end user. This allows the notion of true progress instead of paper based semi-hypothetical reporting. Building solutions that are flexible and easy to change with assumptions integrated into the code - change becomes inexpensive right from the start.

The shopping list neither meets the spelling, nor the grammatical acceptance criteria. However - it is still perfectly usable and with little effort can meet the same objective as a perfect list would have done.

What do you think?


  1. really nice way to start thinking "LEAN" ....

  2. Good read. Its interesting to learn how "agile" lessons can be learnt from everyday occurrences. Its this commitment to continuous improvement and the joys of "living in the moment" that make the "lean" transformation worth-while.


Thank you very much for the insights and suggestions.

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