Agile is like… golfing?
Well, if agile could be like cooking and a fishing trip could be agile it only made sense that another of my hobbies would be agile in some way! This one needs a bit of background. Some of you know that on December 9, 2008 I had a total hip replacement done on my left hip. It had been bothering me for many years and finally was to the point where it was severely impacting my quality of life. I am hugely grateful to Dr. Michael Dayton and the University of Colorado Hospital Orthopaedics Department because my surgery was a total success. I am now able to do many things without pain which would have caused extreme pain or even been impossible prior to the surgery. One of my favorite activities is golf and I am now able to do it without pain. Not being in pain led to an interesting discovery…
Because I was no longer in pain while swinging a golf club I recently decided to go to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls. I like to imagine playing a round of golf when I hit balls on the range because to me it seems less boring than pounding out shot after shot with the same club. While doing this I was struck by the relationships between an agile process and a round of golf:
|Release date||Time to play the round|
|Product vision||Goal for final score|
|Prioritized backlog||Important swing points to remember|
|Release planning||Visualizing round ahead of time|
|Iteration 0||Paying to play and warming up|
|Iteration planning||Deciding how to play a particular hole|
|Daily stand-up||Deciding how to play each shot|
|Daily execution of work||Playing each shot|
|Iteration demo||Score for the hole|
|Iteration Retrospective||Walking off the green and evaluating current state of play|
|Release||Finishing all 18 holes|
|Release retrospective||The 19th hole of course!|
OK, so it’s a little bit of a stretch, but it makes sense to me. How does this help struggling teams? It helps by showing them agile is all around us. We just have to put on our “agile sunglasses” to see it. Agile is common sense of the uncommon variety. For me, seeing agile everywhere makes it clear agile isn’t just a fad, but something bigger. Sometimes teams just need to know it is ok to dip a toe into the water and try it (really, it is!). The first step is the hardest, but imagine doing some other things without being agile. Can you drive a car to someplace unfamiliar without a plan and making constant corrections while actually driving? Can you walk 50 steps without making corrections along the way? If you have a plan for a day can you execute it without making corrections along the way? To me all of these things show parts of an agile process adapted to the real world. Using the same process in the way it was defined should make it even more powerful.
Until next time I’ll be Making Agile a Reality™ by keeping my agile sunglasses on and helping people see the light at the end of the tunnel.