Playing a Round of Scrum

Since moving to Florida nearly 5 years ago, I have had the opportunity to rediscover the game of Golf.  In doing so, I have also rediscovered the commitment that is needed in order to succeed and continue to improve my own game.  During the same 5 years I have also re-immersed myself into Scrum, only to discover the nearly endless comparisons that can be made between the sports I’ve been playing for over 20 years and the business mindset which I deal with every day.

Let’s start by listing out a few (arguably) well recognized facts about the game of golf…

Golf

  1. No matter how long you play, you will not improve if you don’t play regularly
  2. No matter how long you play, you will not keep up with the game if you don’t study
  3. No matter how many games you play, a new game will always challenge you somehow
  4. No matter how many courses you play, a new course will always challenge you somehow
  5. No matter how many times you play the same course, you will likely finish with a different score
  6. No matter how many times you play with the same clubs, you will likely finish with a different score
  7. No matter how many different games you play, the rules of golf stay the same
  8. No matter how many different courses you play, the rules of golf stay the same
  9. No matter how much you play, you will never completely master the game
  10. Every player, in every game, hits bad shots, it’s how you recover that determines your finish
  11. Every foursome is different
  12. Every course is different
  13. Every game is different
  14. Every player handles success differently
  15. Every player handles adversity differently
  16. Every game concludes with the same result, a complete game with a score and no holes skipped

 Ok, now let’s convert these golfing truths (which we hold to be self-evident) into Scrum-Development-Speak by replacing the golf terms with Scrum or development ones and see if this theory holds true…

  1. Replace “play” & “golf” with “Scrum
  2. Replace “player” & “foursome” with “Scrum Team
  3. Replace “course” with “application
  4. Replace “game” with “Sprint
  5. Replace “clubs” with “tools
  6. Replace “holes” with “steps
  7. Replace “score” with “package

Scrum

  1. No matter how long you Scrum, you will not improve if you don’t Scrum regularly
  2. No matter how long you Scrum, you will not keep up with the Sprint if you don’t study
  3. No matter how many Sprints you Scrum, a new Sprint will always challenge you somehow
  4. No matter how many applications you Scrum, a new application will always challenge you somehow
  5. No matter how many times you Scrum the same application, you will likely finish with a different package
  6. No matter how many times you Scrum with the same tools, you will likely finish with a different package
  7. No matter how many different Sprints you Scrum, the rules of Scrum stay the same
  8. No matter how many different applications you Scrum, the rules of Scrum stay the same
  9. No matter how much you Scrum, you will never completely master the Sprint
  10. Every Scrum Team, in every Sprint, hits bad shots, it’s how you recover that determines your finish
  11. Every Scrum Team is different
  12. Every application is different
  13. Every Sprint is different
  14. Every Scrum Team handles success differently
  15. Every Scrum Team handles adversity differently
  16. Every Sprint concludes with the same result, a complete Sprint with a package and no steps skipped

Some of the wording may come out a little funny after the conversion and YES it did take some wordsmithing to get to my point, and YES I could have made my point with fewer words (it was too much fun drawing the comparison though), but when you look at it, golf is a real life, non-development parallel which presents the challenge we all face when “playing a round of Scrum”; it’s a simple game at the core in terms of complexity but it takes continuous effort, focus, and commitment to become really great.

 

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