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Drywall dust, cast iron tubs and Agile Development...

Drywall dust, cast iron tubs and Agile Development...

This summer my wife and I demolished a third of our house. As in, we tore-it-down-to-the-ground demolished. The goals? To rebuild that section of our little house situated on the banks of the Flat River in Lowell, Michigan with more windows facing the river, a higher ceiling in the bedroom, more closet space and the ability to move our washer and dryer to the main level should stairs ever pose a problem (we're not that old yet, but we plan ahead).

Like a similar project we did six years ago (small guest-room and office), my wife and I are doing all the finish work ourselves. We're also using some of the lessons learned at work to make smarter decisions at home, and vice versa. 

And surprisingly enough, there's a whole lotta Agile Development going on.

We didn't plan to apply the principles of Agile to our home project; it was more like it suddenly dawned on us that we had been doing it all along. 

Morgan vs ShowerWith that plan, our contractor did one- to two-week "sprints," including the tear-down, framing, electrical, etc. At the end of those sprints, he would provide a "deliverable" for us to evaluate and tweak as needed, such as a new window where one hadn't been planned, eliminating the reconstruction of a wall we thought looked better once it was removed, and hey, while we were at it, we decided to get rid of that cast-iron tub and its '80s tile surround (word to the wise: hire the bathtub out; cast iron is a bugger).

Our house was built around 1936 as a fishing cabin. Because of that, it was impossible to have predicted all the "gotchas" that might affect the project along the way. By doing it the Agile way, there was just enough time for a pause between sprints to assess our next move and add or eliminate (mostly eliminate) items from our budget to keep the project on track.

The end result: we're thrilled with the final "product". Strangely enough, a few things that least excited us in the beginning have ended up being the few things we love the most. The major thing learned was how key communication is throughout. Even going a week without an update from the project manager was cause for concern. Are we on time? On-budget? Why does our phone suddenly not work? When will we not have power temporarily? Hey... we have no gutters, so is that why we have standing water in the dining room?

A lot of what we've done at i2Integration in the past few months has been done with the goal of improving communication between our developers and our clients. Are we there yet? No. But we're working hard. Having been on the other side for an entire summer, I've been reminded just how crucial that is.

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