My husband sat down to watch Flosstube with me while I was stitching last week. After about 3 videos he asked, “Don’t these people ever finish anything? All they talk about is their purchases and new starts.” This got me thinking about Agile again. I was thinking about the concept of one and done and WIP limits.
In Agile we have the concept of one and done because it’s better to have 1 completed project than four half finished items. With stitching however, I used to start all the things and lose interest. At one point, I had over 100 started projects. Lots of stitching was going on but no finished projects were occurring.
I think at that point, I was much like the IT guys in the Phoenix project. I had no clue how many projects I had to finish, what needed to be done on them and what the status was. I made a pile of all the started work and added it to a spreadsheet. Columns were Name of piece, Designer, stitch count, and what needed to be done next.
I found that a few needed to be frogged, a couple were missing a skein of floss but the majority needed to be backstitched. This is when I learned, I need to backstitch as I go instead of saving it to the end. If I save it to the end, I give up and don’t finish. Compiling the list not only allowed me to see everything that needed to be completed, it allowed me to prioritize and to change my process.
When I had the huge list of WIP’s I also knew that I could use my competitive nature to my advantage and I challenged someone who I knew completed a lot of pieces to a challenge. The first to finish 100 pieces would get a prize from the other. Several other people joined us and although I didn’t win, I was able to complete 100 projects in just under 3 years. Now my “backlog” of started pieces sits at about 36. My husband would like me to whittle is down to about 10 – 3 cross-stitch, 1 piecing, 2 quilting, 1 weaving, 1 embroidery and 3 needlepoint canvases and I think I tend to agree with him. I hear some of you saying – but what about 1 and done? I know my stitching style well enough to know that 10 hours is the maximum amount of time I can put into a piece before it stops being relaxing and fun. If I work on something else for 10 to 15 hours inbetween then the piece I put aside become new and fun again.
So why don’t I limit myself to 3 pieces and rotate? Because I have different fiber hobbies I enjoy and sometime I need a quick finish. Therefore the Needlepoint and Cross-stitch pieces are Small, Medium and Large pieces. It the time it takes to finish a Large piece, I can finish several small pieces and 1.5 medium pieces. If I concentrated on only completing large pieces, I would probably give up stitching because although I would see progress, I would never see a completion.
Think about it in the workplace, when you have a large project it gets broken into smaller stories. My large pieces get broken into smaller stories for the rotation as I’ve discussed before. By doing it this way I still get things finished but I also enjoy my hobby by not getting too bored with the piece I’m working on at the time. My hat goes off to those who can work on one piece at a time without getting bored or frustrated. In the meantime, I’ll keep working on small stories prioritized in my backlog.