Although many of the techniques and steps in the Agile methodologies center on collaboration, some of its concepts can be used even if you’re a one-person team. Working from a prioritized product backlog, breaking work into iterations, limiting work in progress, and regular reflection are just some of the concepts borrowed from agile that people can use to better manage their personal lives.


Agile guru Mike Cohn says he uses scrum to stay productive, dividing his work into one-week sprints. Though he doesn’t use velocity or burndown charts, he does have a weekly personal planning session during which he decides which tasks he wants to complete in the upcoming week. He then charts those tasks out using Things, an app by Cultured Code.

In the Lifehack article “Scrum for One”, Dustin Wax describes how many of the elements of scrum can be adapted for individual productivity. Here are some of his examples:


• Start before you have all the answers, and then be creative in finding solutions to obstacles you encounter.
• Constantly self-reflect and adapt. Spend a few minutes each day planning, reflecting, and asking, “What’s standing in my way?”
• Work toward clearly defined short-term goals. Breaking big goals into short-term goals that are time-boxed will help create a sense of accomplishment and move you forward.
• Sprint—stay focused on your goal. Block out times of the day when you can work free from distraction until you reach your goal.