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by Jiří {x2} Činčura

On sprints

19 Sep 2014 Life, Practices

Everybody’s agile. Everybody’s having backlog and doing scrum (whatever that means). Everybody’s talking about one week sprints and two week sprints. And it’s so fun and modern and minimum viable product and burn down charts and … and I’m not so sure about sprints.

I’m fine with all above mentioned words and methods. It’s great capture of what we knew before, maybe we just weren’t aware of it. Only the sprints. I kind of can’t wrap my head around it.

I’m a strong believer in good work and good team. If the work you’re doing is fun and challenging and you feel need to make the task done because you have to use all your tricks and knowledge, you’ll work hard yourself. Sure some low days will come. But on average your work will be above average. And if the whole is the same. Passionate. And working together to create great result because the team has to use all the tricks and knowledge together you’ll have more problems with overworking than underperformance. I believe.

What about the sprints? I think it’s just a tool to make a team work on 110%, which is fine from time to time. But now I see it often as a method to work week by week. And I think it’s not going to work. The team will break down. You can’t do your best effort year round. It’s as with running. You can’t expect Usain Bolt to run 10k same pace as he does 100m or 200m. Sure he can maybe run 1k that pace. But that’s it. I think we should think about the work more like a marathon (or ultra-marathon). Doing the same work-pace every day, for years. With occasionally some burst of effort (like if you want to conquer that hill while running). That’s sustainable. Unless you have “team” just for 3 months and then you kick the team out and you move to “next-big-thing™©®”.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’ve always seen scrums and sprints bent over to fit some particular company’s behavior. Maybe it works and I just haven’t seen or experienced in proper execution. Maybe people don’t want to be passionate about work and work to just pay bills.

If you have a team sprinting all the time, let me know. I’d be glad to see the execution and be proven wrong.

What’s your opinion on sprints?