The tech tips for marital bliss

It’s the kind of conversation that never ends well. “Why haven’t you taken the bins out? You said you were going to.” Uh oh, here it comes. “I cleaned the toilet and mopped the kitchen floor.” It’s no fun at all – regardless which side of the exchange you’re on. Granted, it’s frustrating when you feel your life buddy isn’t doing their bit, and even more frustrating when you feel your efforts are underappreciated, but there is a solution.

“Agile thinking is also capable of providing invaluable marriage guidance.”

It might sound unlikely, but agile working practices – the kind more commonly rooted in businesses and offices across the globe – could just have the answer. Not only can agile thinking help you wring every drop of fun from your holidays, and help you plan family events, it’s also capable of providing invaluable marriage guidance.

Okay, maybe that’s pushing it, but one of the core principles of the agile manifesto prioritises “collaboration over contract negotiation” – something that I think sums up life partnership pretty succinctly. It also means that there are many techniques in the professional world that we can potentially adopt in the home. Let’s look at a couple of the best ones.

Co-habitation hack #1: The stand up

The stand up meeting comes from Scrum, which is an incredibly useful tool in the office. Scrum is based on the idea that a team is multi-functional and everyone just gets on with the job of delivering a common goal, collaborating where necessary to achieve that as efficiently as possible. This is why it’s essential to keep track of the work that has been done so far, and agile favours face-to-face communication over email or written documentation. Basically: talk more, type less, and under no circumstances leave passive aggressive Post-it notes attached to the fridge door.

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A stand up meeting should take place every morning and take no longer than 15 minutes (there’s really no point in sitting down). Indeed, the very fact that you are standing up removes the temptation to embark on any long-winded discussions about a particular point – anything that needs further discussion waits until another time. The aim of this meeting is simple: to ascertain what’s been done so far, and what might get in the way of achieving our goal. You go round the group and each person says what they did yesterday, what they are going to do today and what problems they have. It’s as simple as that.

Naturally, this also works well in a family setting. Sometimes I travel with my partner to work and we spend an hour or so commuting in the car. So, to make the most of our time, we do a traffic jam stand up (although I’ll admit we are actually sitting down – sadly, we don’t have a convertible). We follow the same approach: yesterday, today, problems. Should we need to, we discuss the problems in more detail and work out how best to address them. This approach means we both get a chance to talk about the things we have done (thus guaranteeing that everyone gets due recognition for bin duties) and we also share any worries, which is both cathartic and helpful in equal measure.

The only problem with this approach? You need to be together in the morning, which of course isn’t always possible. But fear not, there is another way.

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