Friday, April 09, 2010

Rugby Scrum vs Agile SCRUM

One of my favorite games as a child growing up was Rugby, I played for my high school team for a couple of years in the position of forward (in particular the second row). (Jamaica Rugby League).

The goal of a Rugby team (15 players) is to move a ball from one end of the pitch to the other end (similar to American Football) and plant the ball in the end zone to score. Individualism isn't a big theme in that game. It requires all players working together to move the ball down the pitch. What is a Rugby Scrum?

There's one particular part of the game called a Scrum where 7 players bind together, put the ball in the midst of them, push the opposing teams back whilst advancing the ball forward between their legs. The stronger scrum team would win that battle and would be one of the main contributors to a successful match.

I thought this was about computers? Whilst the origins of the concept of Scrum for Agile is debatable the similarities between the concept in Rugby is eerily similar.

Agile Scrum teams must be Self Organizing. Similar to their counterparts on the Rugby pitch, the clock doesn't stop, there are no time outs, if the coach has some advice he can shout it from the sideline or hand gestures but that's it, the players need to figure out how to adjust to the situation on the ground. What are some attributes of a good Self Organizing team?

1. Communication - teams need to be able to share ideas, concerns or general feelings in a free and easy way. A member of a scrum team should not be afraid to say what they need to say.

2. Everyone's contribution is critical - decisions are made via collaboration with all team members, generally decisions are a consensus from team members.

3. Everyone must see the vision of the project and focus - if the team members don't get where we're going and focus then we won't get there well, people need to have that focus and determination to get the job done and doing it well.

4. Must be co-located - having all these guys in the same room is critical and having lots of whiteboards too. Self organizing teams talk a lot, the need to have a space where they probably won't disrupt other teams. It's also critical that these team members bond, I don't think it can be stressed enough, after a while, strong bonds will develop among the team and you'll have a solid gelled team!

There are probably more I could think of, but this is from my experience.


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