Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More Agile Analogies: Football


It's fall again and for me that means Saturdays are reserved for watching the Ohio State Buckeyes play for another Big Ten title and a shot at a Bowl Championship Series game in January. Three hours of watching college football gives me a lot of time to think about agile and lately, I've been thinking about analogies. Here are just a few that have come to mind these past few Saturdays.

Going agile is like switching from "three yards and a cloud of dust" to a "spread option" 

» Your players are going to need time to adjust to the new plays before they'll be effective.

» Some players will quickly take to the new scheme because it suits their style of play.

» Some players will quit the team because they just can't handle the new style of play.

For example, look at what happened to the Michigan Wolverines after Rich Rodriguez took over from Lloyd Carr. The Wolverines went 3-9 for that first season under Rich Rod, the worst in the program's history. This season, with a new quarterback and players who are more accustomed to the type of play, they are starting to get a lot better again. Hopefully, they get good enough to at least make the game against Ohio State interesting.

Successful agile teams are like good football teams

» They are good all around: offense, defense, special teams contribute to winning the game.
See Agile - What is it?

» You take the game one play at a time.

» You get to the goal by getting a bunch of first downs and moving the sticks.

» You have to finish a drive to score; you don't get points for punting.
See The Discipline of Regular Delivery (of working software)

» Don't blow your coverage.

» Play with a controlled rage.

» Take care of the ball at all times.

» Be prepared to call out an audible.

» You have to play the full sixty minutes.
See Sustainable Pace

» Miscommunication will get you in trouble.

» Sometimes, the best decision is to just throw the ball away.

» Eleven men on the field, at most.

» They recruit talented players.

» The best and most experienced, not necessarily the most talented, players are the starters.

» The "star" players always recognize that due credit must be given to the O- or D-line.

» When you make mistakes you go back to the film room and study what you did wrong so you can improve your play and avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

» When you make good plays, you go back to the film room and study what you did right so you can improve your play and do it better in the future.

» Huddle up before the play to make sure everyone knows what we're doing.

» Have players who can make good "reads" of what the opponent is going to do, who are able to make "adjustments" quickly, who can find a "seam" and gain good yardage, who can see the "holes" in the defense and capitalize on them, who can "feel" the pressure of a blitz coming.
See Four Stages of CompetenceRefactoringCode Smell

» If things are getting a little hairy, call a timeout to talk about the next play.

» Listen to what Coach says.


Sometimes you gotta wonder if some of these football coaches would do just as well coaching agile teams. Let me know if you have any other football-related agile-isms or agile-related football-isms and/or links to related articles.

Thanks and GO BUCKS!
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