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Agile programming – for you and your family!


In this inspiring Ted Talk, Bruce Feiler offers an alternative to the traditional dynamic of family structures and interactions.

“Are there concrete things we can do to reduce stress, draw our family closer, and generally prepare our children to enter the world?”

Given the continuous development and changes regarding our definition of a family, Bruce Feiler draws attention upon the fact that although families have gotten stronger over the past 50 years, many see themselves overwhelmed by the chaos of constantly adapting to the needs and requirements of family members.

According to a study conducted by Ellen Galinsky of the Families and Work Institute, when 1.000 children were asked what their number one wish was regarding their parents, the average response was stunning: they wished that their parents were less tired and stressed.

Bruce Feiler, who has taken a serious interest in the subject, has spent a great amount of time researching this issue, trying to come up with a solution that could eventually make families, including his, happier.

One particular family he met made a great impression. A typical American family with four children, trying to deal with everyday challenges and a packed schedule. Their approach to dealing with all of these took Bruce aback. Instead of asking for help and advice from relatives, the parents have figured out a solution based on software development – a cutting-edge program called Agile.


Agile development and methodology refers to a group of solutions, based on self-organized and cross functional teams, which encourage continuous adaptive planning, improvement and rapid and flexible response to change. The basic idea is that small teams can manage themselves, by offering constant feedback, periodical reviews and changing according to needs.

This system was implemented in the American family structure and its effects were amazing: “the family meetings in particular increased communication, decreased stress, and made everybody happier due to a general feeling of being part of the family team”.

In addition to this, you can significantly improve the quality of family life and increase happiness is to empower children and reverse the waterfall as much as possible. Raise awareness and boost accountability. Children of the aforementioned family were dealing with morning tumult themselves, on a regular basis. Following a specific checklist, they were able to plan their activities and make sure that all tasks are completed. In this context, the parents’ only duty remains to oversee the checklist. Additionally, allowing kids to make decisions and involving them in this process also proved to be very beneficial.

Furthermore, a great way to connect with your kids and ensure they will be in control of their lives is to talk to them about their relatives and how the family was built, along with its history. Greater self-confidence is also a result of this method, offering unique, long term benefits that a child will carry on through the rest of his/her life.

To sum up, being happy as an individual is not an easy thing! Being happy as a family is even harder and requires definitely more resources. But remember: it is possible! Adapt continuously, empower the children, tell them your stories. According to Bruce Feiler, these are but a mere three key building blocks that successful families have, but they are most certainly a good start for a happier and wealthier family life!

Video source: Feiler, B. (2013), Agile programming – for your family, TED Talks

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