I’m gearing up to use Agile principles to help my middle schooler with his 3rd quarter inquiry project.
Agile principles were created for software development teams. His inquiry project differs from software projects in three distinct ways.
First, this project is an individual endeavor, not a team effort. However, the idea of using Scrum for individual projects is not new. Dustin Wax gave a good overview of how Scrum increases individual productivity in his Scrum for One post on Lifehack.
Second, instead of creating software, the project is defined as deeply researching a subject and then creating a polished presentation to showcase the research. Credit is based on both the quality of the research and the actual presentation. Again, this is not a unique application of the Agile principles. Scrum has been used effectively in both scientific research projects and team research efforts.
Finally, while there is growing interest in using Scrum in the schools it is usually viewed as a system-wide solution or used to help students manage their learning through group projects not as individuals. To learn more, check out the pioneering use of it in a school in the Netherlands.
Despite the differences between an individual research project by a middle schooler and a team software development project, Scrum techniques and rituals should help improve his end product. User stories, daily scrums, burndown charts, and sprint planning all can create better time management, less stress, and a more focused effort.