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This post is from the Collabnet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Jul 27, 2016 — Enterprise Agile Planning expert

The ‘Game’ of Agile Compared to Football: Training Camp & Preseason

Enterprise Agile Planning

More than 30 years ago Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka wrote an article titled ‘The New New Product Development Game,’ which compares product development to rugby. This year's NFL draft inspired me to make a similar analogy to American football. This is the second in a series of articles comparing agile and football around the major events including: Draft Day, Training Camp & Preseason; the Football Game; and Super Bowl. Click here to read the first article comparing agile to Draft Day. Once a football team is formed, they establish ground rules and set expectations about scheduled training sessions at the same facility.

  • Once an agile team is formed, they establish Sprint 0 Activities including:
    • Team Charter (Members, Name, Values, Sprint Planning day and duration, Core working hours, Ground rules for communication)
    • Schedule recurring meetings (Scrum ceremonies, Backlog refinement, Scrum of Scrums)
    • Definition of Ready
    • Definition of Done
    • Coding standards
    • Estimation standards
    • Production Support Severity Levels

The football staff in charge of equipment establishes their system to support the team during the season (cleaning uniforms, transporting and supporting sideline mics and headsets, physical therapy and training equipment, water for the game, etc.)

  • An agile team establishes a support system. For VersionOne this means unifying strategy, development, and delivery in order to accelerate the delivery of business value. The VersionOne Enterprise Agile Platform’s agile ALM, DevOps, and integration solutions provide organizations with insight and traceability from product inception to delivery.

Playbooks are distributed that explain the drills that the players will be learning and practicing. The team is then sent through the drills over and over during practices to build muscle memory. The coaches may find that some of the plays need to be adjusted so they update the playbook based on what they’ve learned through practice.

  • Organizations create Agile Playbooks that describe how they are applying the agile values, principles, and guidelines around the methodologies they are applying. Teams will include a section that contains information gathered during the Sprint 0 activities. The Agile Playbook becomes the guide for directing new hires on how the team will work together.

Before the season starts, football teams will play several exhibition games. These provide experience for players who are not used to playing in front of large crowds and an opportunity for management to evaluate new players.

  • When rolling out an agile transformation, it’s common to conduct a pilot program with 1/2 teams. The teams follow the Agile Playbook and provide frequent feedback. It’s better to work out the kinks at the beginning of the transformation rather than jump into the game with both feet.

Stay tuned for the rest of the articles in this series:

  • Kickoff Game – September
  • Super Bowl – February

For more information on the fundamentals of agile, check out our Agile 101 resources. 728x90/red/demo

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