As an Agile coach and as certified babywearing consultant I use both in daily life and both are part of my core and my beliefs.
Agile methodology is based on common sense and when applied correctly it will help you organise better around your skills, track metrics to identify bottle necks and waste, adapt to quick change and make a right data driven decision.
What I noticed that many babywearing consultants and hiring groups as in industry of hugs with many variables find hard to organise.
Challenges in babywearing businesses – consultants
There are few main challenges that we can expirience daily:
- Time respect
- Quick change of minds
- Keep documents nit
- Follow ups
How to overcome challenges?
CHARGING and TIME RESPECT – Design a structure.
Before you even start organising you need to decide on – price vs time
- would you do individual consultation, group workshops, short carriers adjustments
- Do you have fix rate per each, fix rate per hour, or you would rather approach with variable and flexibility
- would that be exclusively online or offline and would price depend
- Do you rent carriers
- Your expenses and predictions
- Your availability (flexy, part time, full time, only specific days and hours..)
Once when you design a structure of work, then we need to design a structure of keep this work going and tracking.
- How my business is organised – website, social media, applications
- How I charge and through what payment system
- Do I provide questioners, educational material, open or locked etc (how much additional storage for documents you need)
Based on your decisions it is time to organise. In most time you can use simple spreadsheet and gdrive storage, but it would be advasible to also start using some of software for work tracking and have automated reports rather then having them manually extracted as those will slower your decision making. There are many softwere out there which will provide you Kanban view of work and I strongly recommend to start using it to visualise your work commitment and also to have availability for quick change. For instance Attlassian Jira is one of most commonly used and it is free up to 10 users. Trello is also one of the tools widely used. Don’t be afraid to log in time you spent on different stuff. Create a task for each amount of work and time you have spent related to business (social media, taxes…). We often have tendency to avoid tracking those but they are important part of work and metrics which will later on help you organise better. As more data we have, we can catch bottle necks and those will help us improve. So, metrics are your friend.
QUICK CHANGES OF MIND – This is most common challenge
As a babywearing educator you have been at least once in need to a change a plan because parents pushed meeting for another time or cancelled. This is something we can’t avoid but we can organise based on expirience and learn from it over time. Metrics are your friend (again). As more data you collect you will have better organisation.
- Track those changes and learn from it
- Find a most usuable way of time when those happens /replace a ticket (task) on your visual board Kanban and put the one to cancel
- Protect your time (deposit, cancellation policy)
Kanban boards visually depict work at various stages of a process using cards to represent work items and columns to represent each stage of the process. Cards in representation of tasks of your planned work in a visual backlog (list) prioritised or spread over a week. Cards are moved from left to right to show progress and to help coordinate work. Columns are optional and depends highly of your workflow (stages). If your work is flexible you can divide those stages based on status, you can create worklog based on days etc. This is something witch can very and be highly dependent on structure you have decided at the beginning. Visual board should be highly used and on daily basis. The will also collect data from it (amount of work, time spent (logged time), changes in scope…).
Kanban pull principle
Kanban is as stated before visualisation of work, quickly adaptive to change and contains all tasks (needed work) in one column wich will progres from left to right to final stage done. A pull system is a Lean technique that controls the flow of work by replacing what’s completed. A vending machine is a perfect example of a pull system–products will be restocked only when existing products have run out. Kanban precisely fits this definition.
Live example: If we created a task Individual consultation – 2hours. And then if we do follow ups or additional documentation sending or requiring form from client to fill up, then we need to create additional task for that, estimate on needed time and plan in our capacity for that day..We can pull together both tasks in our Doing column and make sure we planned that additional time and done it as planned.
Kanban projects have Work In Progress (WIP) limits which are the measure of capacity of teams but can in this instance used also for one babywearing consultant and allow you to be focused on only a small amount of work at one time. It is only as tasks are completed that new tasks are pulled into the cycle. WIP limits should be fine-tuned based on comparisons of expected versus actual effort for tasks that complete. For example we can put WIP limits on colums that require active work. The place to add them depending highly on number of colums you are using in defining steps (workflow). If we for example building backlog based on days in a week, we can limit each day to particular amount of hours we can spend that day to make sure that we are not committing to more work that we can deliver or to make sure in process of doing is one task at the time. WIP limits are sometimes useful to keep us in order and remind us of our capacity.
List of some available tools:
– Asana, with boards
– Azure DevOps Server, an integrated ALM-platform for managing work in and across multiple teams.
– CA Technologies Rally, provides teams with the option of managing pull-based, lean software development projects.
– Jira, provides kanban boards.
– Kanboard, open source Kanban-based project management software
– Microsoft Planner, a planning application available on the Microsoft Office 365 platform.
– Notion, a project management and database application includes kanban board views.
– Pivotal Tracker provides kanban boards
– Projektron BCS, project management tool, provides kanban boards for tickets and tasks
– ServiceNow platform, offers kanban style visual task boards.
– Trello, cards-based project management.
– Tuleap, agile open source tool for development teams: customize board columns, set WIP (Work In Progress), connect board with Issue Trackers, Git, Documents
– Twproject (formerly Teamwork), project and groupware management tool.
– Unicom Focal Point, a portfolio management and product management tool.
– Wrike, An agile collaborative work management
I will keep editing this document with more valuable tips on the go and based on provided feedback.
Certificated Agile coach and Babywearing consultant Ana Vuletić