Phil Parker

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 22 October 2015

Sprints, Scrums and Navigating at Speed

I’ve never liked the term Sprint. It brings to mind an individual figure puffing and panting at the end of one run and then wearily setting off again. It doesn’t suggest sustainability.

Scrum (whilst I’m empathetic to the metaphor of a whole team carrying a work item together) conjures up an image of a group with their heads-down, blindly driving forward.

It occurred to me recently (and I’m sure I’m not the first) that there is a better analogy:

Many special forces teams do something called a Loaded March. This is an activity where a team has to move a certain amount of weight (both personal bergens and shared weights such as stretchers, ammo boxes, communications equipment, food and medical supplies) to a provided destination. The march is intended to be carried out at pace but the expectation is that teams should finish together. Whilst the destination is provided, the route is not.

The teams that tend to succeed in these tasks proceed briskly but steadily, they have a regular cadence of route checking (reacting to terrain and changes in weather) and they collaborate (for example someone carrying two personal packs to free up someone for shared kit).

So maybe in your next retrospective you should discuss:

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