Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping is a crucial pattern in Agile work environments, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a clean and organized workspace. It enables teams to work efficiently, saving time and energy that would otherwise be wasted in searching for tools, navigating messy spaces, or repeating tasks already completed. This pattern not only applies to the physical workspace but also extends to maintaining a clean and organized product environment.

Why Good Housekeeping is Important

The importance of maintaining a clean physical and digital workspace cannot be overstated. When team members can easily identify the tasks they need to complete, they can focus on making progress toward the Sprint Goal. A disorganized work environment, whether physical or digital, can lead to wasted time and frustration, hindering team members from seeing the actual situation and knowing where to start working.

In the digital realm, keeping files, emails, and knowledge repositories organized is crucial to maximizing productivity. Disorganized digital assets can cause team members to spend unnecessary time searching for vital information or even repeating work that has already been completed. For example, a developer once spent hours searching for a critical piece of code in a cluttered repository, only to discover that it had been mislabeled and misplaced in a completely unrelated folder. This time could have been better spent on more productive tasks, had the digital environment been well-organized.

By ensuring both the physical and digital aspects of the work environment are well-organized, team members can save valuable time and focus on delivering high-quality work. A clean and organized workspace, both physically and digitally, allows team members to have a clearer understanding of the current state of the project and easily identify the next steps. Moreover, maintaining a well-organized digital environment reduces the likelihood of losing important information, thereby improving overall team efficiency and communication.

How to Use the Good Housekeeping Pattern

The principles of Good Housekeeping extend beyond the physical workspace and are equally applicable to the digital realm. The importance of maintaining a clean and organized digital environment is crucial in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world.

Just as a clean physical workspace is essential for productivity and efficiency, a well-organized digital environment is equally important. Digital clutter, such as disorganized files, overflowing email inboxes, and ineffective knowledge management systems, can create confusion and hinder progress. By applying the Good Housekeeping principles to your digital life, you can streamline your workflow and enhance your team’s ability to achieve the Sprint Goal.

The 5S methodology of the Toyota Production System, which promotes disciplined work habits, can be adapted for managing digital assets as well. The 5S principles—sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain—can guide the process of organizing digital files, emails, and knowledge repositories. By regularly sorting and organizing digital assets, team members can minimize the time spent searching for essential information, avoid duplicating efforts, and maintain a clear understanding of the project’s status.

In addition to adhering to the 5S methodology, adopting useful tools and software can assist in maintaining an organized digital workspace. Cloud-based storage solutions, email filters, and collaboration platforms can help teams keep their digital assets organized, accessible, and secure. Moreover, these tools can facilitate seamless communication among team members, further enhancing overall productivity.

Good Housekeeping in the digital realm not only involves managing your own digital assets but also extends to assisting your teammates in maintaining a clean digital environment. By collectively committing to keeping digital workspaces organized, agile teams can ensure that they continue to make progress toward their goals, enhance communication, and promote technical excellence.

Incorporating Good Housekeeping principles in both the physical and digital aspects of work fosters a culture of commitment and discipline within the team. By continually focusing on maintaining a clean and organized workspace, teams can improve their efficiency, productivity, and ultimately the quality of the products they deliver.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, embracing Good Housekeeping principles in every aspect of work, including physical and digital environments, fosters a culture of commitment, discipline, and efficiency within the team. By consistently maintaining a clean, organized workspace, teams can improve their productivity, streamline communication, and ultimately enhance the quality of the products they deliver. As technology continues to evolve and our lives become more intertwined with digital tools, it is essential to recognize the importance of applying these principles to both the physical and digital realms. By doing so, agile teams can successfully adapt to the ever-changing landscape and continue making progress towards their goals while upholding technical excellence.


“Good Housekeeping.”

Jeffrey Liker and David Meier. The Toyota Way Fieldbook: A practical guide for implementing Toyota’s 4P’s. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2006, pg. 64.

Lord Baden Powell., (accessed 2 November 2017).

—. Manifesto for Agile Software Development: Principles.,, 2001, accessed 23 January 2017.



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