From WSJF to FIAF: Choosing Your Family Activities in an Agile Happy Way

- Agile and Lean Principles

by Loïc Leofold

Holidays are over. Kids are back in school. Also comes the time to choose your family activities.

  • “I want to play football.”
  • “And me, to ride!”
  • “You take us to the restaurant!”

Have you ever been in this complex situation? Inevitably, you have more choices than time and money. One thing is certain: compromises must to be made. But you’re lucky. You know how to manage complexity!

How does Agility give us tools to prioritize a backlog of activities?

WSJF in Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise.

Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is a technique for:

  1. assigning a weight, or value, to each job
  2. and then dividing that by the length of the job
  3. in order to determine a relative ranking. It boils down a fairly formula

WSJF = (Business Value + Time criticality + Risk Reduction)/job size

Dan Leffingwell suggested using the Fibonacci scale (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.) for each item mostly because larger numbers are less precise and using Fibonacci makes consensus easier.

From WSJF To FIAF

How can we adapt the WSJF formula to our initial situation ?

After few experiments, I propose you the concept of Funniest Impactful Activity First (FIAF) whose formula is :

FIAF = (Family Impact + Satisfaction) / (Duration + Cost by Member)

In this formula we use the following terms:

  • Family Impact: How many people in the family claim this activity? What is the potential negative impact of not choosing this activity?
  • Satisfaction: How fun is this activity? What is your family member’s level of satisfaction if you choose this activity? Is there a risk of dispute if the activity is not chosen?
  • Duration: How long is this activity ?
  • Cost by member: How much does this activity cost?

Using FIAF for fun, agile family planning

The goal of the FIAF process is to have a consensus on the activities to do. Here is a list of activities my family have (Horseback riding is out of our budget):

  • Football
  • Restaurant
  • Cinema
  • Family Games
  • Music
  • Judo
  • Country

We play with Planning Poker cards to estimate each activity. The more important is the discussion, not the number. And we report results in a spreadsheet:

Results: We have all decided (with the budget we have) to :

  • Go to the cinema twice a month,
  • My wife and I country dance once a week,
  • Go to the restaurant twice a month (not the same day as the cinema),
  • My son plays football.

What did we learn ?

We are often wrong when we choose the activities for our family. We try to please a maximum of people but we inevitably make trouble.

In our example, without the FIAF, I had a list of activities totally different by focusing on Music, Football, and Judo.

For two months, my family is happy and loves spending time together!

Give It Try

The FIAF is not a perfect tool or algorithm. By nature, it is not true. But it serves as a support for the discussion with your family. I suggest you to experiment, to learn, to modify and to personalize for your own situation. And don’t hesitate to share your feedbacks with us!

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