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An Agile Approach to a House Remodel

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An Agile Approach to a House Remodel

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I’ve been a product owner/customer for our new-to-us house remodel.

In the last several weeks, almost every single day, Mark and I have taken some time to go over to the new house to see the progress and provide feedback to the guys working on site. We do work directly with the site project manager. I don’t know how he meets with the subcontractors (painters, plasterers, tilers, etc.) All I know is that we provide him feedback just about every day.

He tells us when it’s time to select the: tile, faucets, bathtubs,  paint colors, new front door, decide on kitchen design, everything. We meet with the people who are our vendors. They send the specs or material to our builder.

When we were working on the design of the house, we iterated on it with the builder. We had at least three iterations on paper. Maybe four. We discussed how we would live in the house with him.

As we discovered things about the house, we modified the design. (Does any of this sound familiar?) Since it’s a house, we haven’t modified structural things, such as how big the addition is, or where the windows are. However, this week, we changed my bedroom closet. That was because I didn’t understand the initial design, and I called a halt to where we were.

Our builder is great. We are trying to be great customers, too. It’s a two-way street. This is why my blogging has been slow. I’m spending time at the house.

Today, I took these pictures, so you can see what I mean about making decisions about paint colors:

bedroom1 bedroom2 bedroom3 hallwayThe first three images with the blue colors are all in what will be our master bedroom. We were trying to decide between the more intense blue on the left and the other blue on the right. The painted-over colors are from when the painters mistakenly painted our bathroom colors on the bedroom walls.

The purple-gray colors on the right bottom image are from the hallway. We wanted to see what that color would look like in what has the potential to be a dark hallway.

You don’t have to like our colors. We like our colors. Our house is full of teal greens, blues, and purples. We like those colors. If you’ve ever seen me in person, you might understand why. Those are my colors.

Being a product owner/customer is a new experience for me. It’s time-intensive to do it right. You have to make a gazillion little decisions every single day. And, this is with a house, a product that is not malleable in every dimension. A product that is not changeable with a flick of the wrist.

Our house is supposed to be done at the end of May. It will be close. They might need a few more days. Why? Because the kitchen designer is not agile. She is also designing my office closet storage, although maybe not for long. I am running out of patience. (Me? What a surprise!)

Mark and I have really enjoyed the short cycles with this remodel. It’s been intense for us. But, it’s been great to see the house we want and need come together, and so quickly.

Agile works for house building, too. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Download the free agile tools checklist from 321 Gang. This guide will help you choose the right agile tools to position your team for success. 


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