Friday, May 30, 2008

Scrum & Football Analogy

By now, we have all heard about Agile software development methodology and its different flavors such as SCRUM, XP, DSDM etc etc.

I have been part of development teams using SCRUM methodology for last year and a half and I am learning more about agile concepts in every project using these techniques. The more I think about a project that is managed using SCRUM, I can't help but think about how similar this approach is to the way a football (American Football, not Soccer) game is played. Let me explain, here are the different aspects of both Scrum and Football that are very similar in nature.

  • The "First Down" in a football game is same as a "Sprint" in a Scrum project, Sprint = First Down.
  • In other words, End of Sprint = First down (10 yards is the objective for every down in football; End of Sprint/Iteration is the objective in Scrum)
  • End of Project (which usually consists of several Sprints) = Touchdown
How about the various meetings held in a typical SCRUM project? How do they relate to football terms?
  • Project Kickoff Meeting = Game Kickoff
  • Daily stand-ups = Huddle
  • Start of Iteration/Product Backlog = Line Of Scrimmage
  • Iteration Planning Meetings (IPM) - Pre-game meeting
  • Retrospective = Post Game Conference
Let's look at the SCRUM team member roles and how they are similar to a football team member roles.
  • Scrum Master = Head Coach
  • Technical Lead = Running back
  • Architect = Quarter back
Some of the other roles and artifacts that I haven't yet found a match are as follows:
  • Stakeholders
  • Developers
  • QA Testers = Referees?
  • Burn-down chart


Anonymous said...

Ever wonder why speakers, on conferences constantly show pictures of Rugby more than American Football, when explaining SCRUM? It's about team. American Football is about individuals, stars. Rugby is more about team work (not there is not "units" in Rugby). In this sense Rugby is better when describing Agile SCRUM.

Jason Whaley said...

"American Football is about individuals"

Not to start a football flamewar, but I call bollocks on that one. As a former collegiate offensive lineman, I can assure that everything about American football is team oriented and every position is dependent on the others. The media will try to portray it as a sport of individual accomplishments, but that's because they are in the business of selling a product where individual names help sell to the general public.

To bring this back on topic however, there are positions in American football (both on the field and on the sidelines) that are "more important" or take on more responsibilities than others (e.g. Center, Quarterback, Free Safety). So that I say that SCRUM is more like American football in that the balance of work and responsibility is not (nor should it be) evenly distributed, which is what I gather from my limited viewing of Rugby.

Cheers :P

franco said...

I can assure that everything about American football is team oriented and every position is dependent on the others
Penegra Online

Casey Dale said...

Scrum is an agile methodology which is different than the traditional project management. It is an iterative approach which is appropriate for projects which are changing and have more emerging requirements. Here the project is worked on iterations wherein the team works with customer to outline the deliverables in each iterations and the whole team is responsible for the delivery of the project. This methodology is more popular in development of projects.

peeter pattinson said...

This is one of the good articles on scrum you can find in the net explaining everything in detail regarding the topic. I thank you for taking your time sharing your thoughts and ideas to a lot of readers out there.