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Scrum for dating – one step at a time

Dating apps like Parship, Elite Partner, Lovoo, Badoo,Tinder (you name them) and some pseudo dating apps like Bumble and the inner circle are on the rise in Germany and internationally.

But what does the increase in those apps and platforms tell us? Are we more prone to fall at the mercy of algorithms and spreadsheets to e-meet people of the opposite or same sex? Or has dating actually become complex / difficult because we can’t estimate the outcome and might potentially make a trade-off?

No brainer, but individuals in the Northern hemisphere are increasingly becoming individualistic and self-centered. Keeping ourselves happy, creating memories, pursuing a healthy lifestyle is pretty far up on our priorities. Hence, why should one forgo these aspirations and deal with a complete stranger, where getting to know him or her means doing less of what we love to do. Getting to know someone takes TIME! Yap, the time we invest to get to know another self-loving, neo-liberal, weird, sometimes depressive yet longing for love and attention seeking person is scary but worth a contemplation.

How do we deal with this intricate situation? I believe that the Scrum methodology can unfold its power in any sort of complex situation.

The Stacey Matrix is a good tool to evaluate whether it is feasible to use an agile method like Scrum or not. Imagine being in a prospective and sustainable relationship is our vision, starting a relationship with a suitable and complementing partner is our end product. Deploying this to the Stacey Matrix, working on a prospective and sustainable relationship is WHAT we produce incrementally (product) and opening up and spending time are examples of how we want to reach the goal (functionalities).

Stacey Matrix
The Stacey Matrix for dating

In Scrum, a potentially shippable product (sub product) is incrementally produced in a timeboxed period and is called a “Sprint”. In each sprint we decide how many functionalities we want to implement in order to develop a potentially shippable product increment. Let’s go through a possible “Scrum Flow of Dating”.

Scrum Flow

Product Idea: I don’t want to be alone anymore
Product Vision: Being in a prospective and sustainable relationship OR I want to get married
The team: The Dating-Scrum team consists of the persons pursuing a relationship. In a heterosexual endeavor, the woman might collaborate with her female squad to solve occurring impediments ☺
Prioritized Product Backlog: All items (functionalities / requirements) written in the form of user stories necessary to reach the end goal. The items are prioritized according to the return of invest:

  • Making myself available
  • Eliminating trust issues
  • Loyalty
  • Good breath test
  • Travel together
  • Respect
  • Humor
  • Do you like how she or he chews?
  • Hobbies
  • Friends test
  • Successfully solving arguments
  • Kiss
  • Make love
  • Find out whether one snores
  • Cooking

*Example User Story: We want to make ourselves available so that we can spend maximum time getting to know one another.

Release Plan: Wow, we could actually estimate what date the annual celebration will be. The day we will finally start officially dating as an approved couple.

Sprint Planning 1: We decide WHAT we want to do. Along our prioritized product backlog, we now choose the user stories we want to implement in our first sprint. These should be the user stories, which have the highest value for our endeavor – the “business value”. Hence, which functionalities will most likely deliver a high return of investment? For example, if we go on a short trip we might quickly find out the “highs” and the “lows” of the person in investigation. We have invested a concentrated piece of time and have a high outcome. Anyways, this could also go wrong. So, think of what functionalities you are best taking up in your first sprint. The selected items cumulate in the so-called “Sprint Backlog”.

Sprint Planning 2: We decide HOW we want to do it. Here, we take up each user story from the “Sprint Backlog” and deduce tasks as to how to implement the selected user stories. This is a technical meeting where we talk about how to do what. So, if we took the travelling user story again, we will write tasks such as: book flight, book hotel, decide on day and nighttime activities, plan budget, mobility, choose restaurants etc.

Sprint: We set a timebox in which we want to have implemented the selected user stories and hence have produced our first increment. A sprint should not be any longer than 1 month in order to ensure quick feedback cycles.

Daily: TALK DAILY. Communication is key!

Sprint Review: The Sprint Review is where we present what we have achieved in the Sprint. It’s the success meeting (hopefully) where we showcase our first potentially shippable product. Here, the team could showcase to each other, what they have learnt about each other during the holidays and how they feel more comfortable with each other. The new level of familiarization should be the product increment here.

Sprint Retrospective: The meeting which scrutinizes how the team worked together. This meeting does not focus on the product but solely on the working relationship. Hence, did the team like their communication while planning the vacation, what went well and what can be improved during the Sprint? What should we change or adapt? Or are we on the right lane in the way we work together reaching the common goal?

The Retrospective meeting closes a sprint and is also the prelude to the next sprint. We choose new product backlog items, write tasks, start the sprint, showcase the outcome and discuss our working relationship.

This mirrors the plan, do, check and act cycle.

Why is it beneficial to date agile?

In our fast-paced world, where time always comes at the expenses of other things that could have been done, I think that dating iteratively can be a promising model to pursue a sustainable relationship while managing our so important duty-stuffed life’s. It allows for adaption while pursuing a loving relationship. Key elements are the stipulation and constant reiteration of the common goal and the constant communication among the committed team. No concession should be made around these elements.

Foto: CC0 Creative Commons – pixabay, StockSnap