Setting Parental Priorities: User Stories and Backlogs in Parenting


3 min read

Setting Parental Priorities: User Stories and Backlogs in Parenting

Alright, squad, let's reconvene! In our last rendezvous, we began to unpack the Agile mindset and its potential in parenting. Now, it's time to put theory into action. Our mission today: explore how two key Agile practices – user stories and backlogs – can revolutionize the way we set parental priorities.

A "User Story," in software development terms, is a simple, clear explanation of a software feature from an end user's perspective (1). A user story helps the developer understand who the user is, what they want, and why they want it. The most common format is: "As a [type of user], I want [an action] so that [a benefit or result]".

Applying this to parenting, the "user" is your child. User stories in parenting would look something like this: "As a 10-year-old gamer, I want to play video games after school so that I can unwind and connect with my friends online." Or, "As a high-school student, I want to balance gaming with studies so that I don't miss out on either."

Creating user stories helps us empathize with our children's needs and desires, giving us insights into their motivations. It enables us to view situations from their perspective and design 'parental features' that cater to these needs.

Next up in our Agile arsenal is the "Backlog," a prioritized list of user stories waiting to be addressed (2). In the context of parenting, a backlog could comprise the 'features' your child needs or wants, ranked according to urgency, importance, or any other criteria that makes sense to your family.

Your parenting backlog might include tasks like "implement a balanced screen time schedule," "co-play a new game with my child," or "discuss online safety rules." The key to a good backlog is that it's always evolving, reprioritizing based on the changing dynamics and needs of your family.

Sounds like a game plan, doesn't it? Now, let's look at how you can put these tools to work in the real-life campaign of parenting.

First, sit down with your child and create user stories together. This activity isn't just about understanding your child's needs; it's also about making them an active participant in the decision-making process. Collaboration is a cornerstone of Agile, remember?

During this discussion, encourage your child to express their needs and wants. Ask questions that guide them to think about why they want what they want. This not only helps you understand their motivations but also fosters critical thinking in them.

Once you have a list of user stories, it's time to create your backlog. Arrange these stories based on urgency, importance, or any other criteria you and your child agree on. Remember, this isn't a one-off task. Just like in Agile, your backlog should be revisited and reprioritized as your family's needs evolve.

Now, this might sound a lot like project management, and you're not wrong. But at its core, Agile parenting, like Agile development, is about maximizing value and minimizing unnecessary work. It's about breaking down complex tasks into manageable chunks, prioritizing effectively, and continuously adapting to changes.

Don't get lost in the tech jargon or be daunted by the seeming formality of it all. Embrace the spirit of Agile - flexibility, collaboration, and constant adaptation. And keep in mind that every family is unique. What works for one family might not work for another. The goal isn't to strictly follow Agile methods but to adapt them in ways that make your parenting journey more manageable and enjoyable.

So, buckle up, gamer, because we're just starting to power up! Our quest into Agile parenting is beginning to heat up, and we're going to need all the XP we can get!


  1. Cohn, M. (2004). User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development. Addison-Wesley Professional.

  2. Rubin, K. S. (2013). Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. Addison-Wesley.

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