This post is from the Collabnet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.
The ‘Game’ of Agile Compared to Football: The Big Game
All season long, there are tons of statistics that are compared and discussed on ESPN, in newspapers, at the bus stop, and by the watercooler — team rankings by position, penalties, yards per game, fumbles, interceptions, and turnovers, oh my! There’s even a statistics glossary because there are so many! When they really matter is while preparing for the next game. Let’s evaluate our opponent and how we’ve done against them in the past, and make decisions to best prepare us for the win on Sunday! Metrics in Agile are used to start discussions, promote continuous improvement, drive agile best practices, and ultimately to deliver a high/quality product frequently and on a regular basis! Burndown: How is the team doing according to its plan? Is the team going to meet its commitment? Velocity: What is the proven throughput for a team? Does the team deliver consistently? Cumulative flow: Which step in our process is taking too long or is the bottleneck? How long does it take for work to flow from the top of the list to delivery? Quality: Are we reducing our technical debt by closing more defects than we introduce? Or is our quality staying the same because we introduce the same number of defects that we fix? A football team’s goal for the season is to win The Big Game As someone who grew up in Georgia, it’ll be a dream come true! Go Falcons! The ultimate goal for an agile team is to become a high/performing team which shows characteristics of:
- Trust, good communication, and comradery
- Self/management in that a member reports to the team, not to a manager
- Consistent estimation either using normalized story points or getting every story to the same size
- Consistent quality by following a Definition of Done
- Continuous improvement with meaningful retrospectives and owned action items
- A fixed team where members work together until they decide a change is needed
If a team makes it to The Big Game, it’s smart for the owner to continue his or her investment in the same coaching staff with the hope that they’ll get to the The Big Game again! It takes a lot of storming and norming before a team becomes high performing. The last thing you want to do is split up the team or add a new member. Their hard work to establish all the above characteristics would be lost. The same is true with your coaching staff. It’s unfortunate when organizations hire consultants for three months to ‘make them agile’ and once they know what a story is and have completed their first sprint, they feel they can do it on their own without a coach. This is the fourth in a series of articles comparing agile and football around the major events including: Draft Day, Training Camp & Preseason; the Football Season; and now The Big Game.