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home run

I’ve been working here at OptimalBI for about a year now and Agile sprints are a way we organise our work. For us the interesting part is that the work in question isn’t software development, it’s product development. My Sprint Team builds products. We start with a Vision, do a lot of brainstorming, come up with high level components and then create a list of stories to deliver the customer experience we want. What products? Well these products:

We aren’t the only people using Agile for things which aren’t software development these guys are too, as this blog shows!



So, how does baseball fit in?

Well, one of the things I love about baseball is the teamwork. The first batter up doesn’t need to get a home run. They just have to get a base hit. They have to do enough to get to first base. That’s all. This makes a lot of sense because the risks of going for a big hit are high and if you are the first batter to the plate then the potential reward of even getting that home run is limited, only one run. Also the skills required to get on base aren’t exactly the same skills as those required to bat runs in. Lead off hitters are usually smaller and faster, the middle order are bigger guys who are slower but more powerful. I really got this watching lead-off hitters struggle in the Home Run Derby one year.

Iterations which improve the reward vs risk equation and T-Shape teams? Does this sound familiar to anybody?

My job when we come to productise a new idea is to often come up with the personas we want to sell the product to. For me getting this right is like a base hit. It gets us started. It isn’t a home run. In order get that home run, a fully ready to sell product I need the rest of my team to drive me home.


I have the best team in the world.

My work will get pulled apart and put back together many times during the sprint and when we come to develop other parts of the product such as interface design other team members take the place of that lead-off hitter needing to just do enough to get on base.

This process is a lot like creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) which is often the goal of the project.

Here are my big take aways from thinking of Agile Sprints as Baseball.

  1. It’s a team
  2. Don’t boil the ocean, just get on base.
  3. Don’t push the analogy too far, it won’t take it.

How to you organise your work?

How do you conceptualise that organisation?

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

Success is preparation meets opportunity – Jack

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