Agile Running

by | Mar 4, 2015


Source: OptimalBI

I’ve been blogging for a while about my experiences with agile. I’m a big fan so I thought I’d try and apply it to something different than software development.
If you found this blog via my #running, a quick explanation; Agile is a project management methodology primarily used to develop software. It works by using short 2-4 week bursts of activity, called Sprints, to complete an agreed number of user requirements, called stories. Simple! Have a read and let me know what you think. I’ve added other explanations in brackets.
My other passion is running. I find it a great way to enjoy the great Wellington outdoors and have some thinking time!
So how about combining the two?
I’ve recently written myself a plan of various runs to get to a running event later in the year. Lets consider that my Product Backlog (everything I want to achieve).
I’ve decided each agile Sprint should be four weeks in duration. I’m treating each run as a story, however any story that I don’t complete will not be backlogged, just lost, that’s my running rule, not an agile one!
I’ve completed my first Sprint and held a review and retrospective (kinda self explanatory, I hope).
I reviewed each of the stories both individually and as part of the weekly schedule and over the full Sprint. Given holiday and work schedules it went well. My favourite run was at sunrise in Napier whilst on holiday; 8km that felt like it could have gone on forever; I love those days!
The retrospective was a little more challenging. Clearly I was the only one present to voice an opinion so I used one of my favourite “start, stop, continue” formats…name something that you want to start, stop and continue in the next Sprint.
If you’re a runner, my start is tempo runs, continue reading running books and stop running too fast. The first and last sound contradictory, but I’d recommend reading 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower by Matt Fitzgerald and it will all make sense.
Planning for the next Sprint wasn’t too hard. Having had a relatively successful previous Sprint I reviewed the upcoming backlogged stories. With a few minor tweaks to balance the tempo runs and the need to run slower I accepted the next four weeks of runs into the Sprint.
I’m also planning on undertaking a backlog grooming session (reassessment of upcoming stories) during the next Sprint. As with all agile projects it’s an opportunity to review the outstanding stories. I won’t be adding any further stories to the backlog, my legs just won’t take it, but I will review the upcoming Sprint to ensure it’s still within my capabilities.
My standups (daily get together) break all of the agile rules. For a start I’m generally sitting and I don’t do them daily. What passes for a standup requires me to fill in my running log after a run and move the next story into progress ahead of completing it.
So, seems to be working as a methodology. I’ll let you know how the next Sprint goes in a couple of weeks time!
Keep on running! Go agile!



  1. Learn from your retrospective | OptimalBI - […] the time I blogged about mixing Agile with my training schedule; taking each few weeks training as a Sprint…
  2. Creating a Product Backlog | OptimalBI - […] decide upon the Summer’s sporting events. If you’ve followed any of my sporting endeavours in running or completing a marathon…
  3. What is Agile BI and Data Warehousing? It’s what I do. | OptimalBI - […] can read Geoff’s blog, Agile Running, or all of Geoff’s blogs […]
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