I first learned about Agile from Canadian Hockey

I’ve been trying to put this post together for a while and I finally got my four points completed. This post has been sitting around in an unfinished state and I figured I needed to complete it before the NHL returned to Winnipeg. 🙂

Go Jets Go!

The four Agile rules I learned from hockey

Play for the crest on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back – Simply put, the individual cannot have a personal agenda or an ego. Every member of the team must be willing to do whatever it takes to have the team succeed. This is seen again and again in the Stanley Cup playoffs. You never see a good Canadian boy saying he doesn’t get the puck enough.

Mistakes cause you to lose games – Mistake or defects cause you to lose a game and also have bad projects. These things just cannot happen. Good teams do everything they can to eliminate these mistakes and defects. Good coaching can eliminate mistakes from a hockey game and Test Driven Development can eliminate defects from a Software Development Project.

Winning the game/satisfying the client is the only thing that matters – It doesn’t matter if you scored a hat trick, had 7 assists (sorry Darryl Sittler, but I’m a Habs fan), or delivered just what the contract stated. None of that matters at all. The only thing that matters is if you won the game and the client was delighted. Too often in both Hockey and Software Development we seem to be more focused on these small victories and sacrifice the end goal.

Shoot the darn puck/deliver the darn iteration – You can’t win the game unless you shoot the puck at the net. You can’t succeed in satisfying the client unless you actually deliver something to the client. Iterations and trying to score often is at the heart of success in both Hockey and Software Development.

Editor’s note: Sorry Don Cherry, I tried and failed to think of an analogy for fighting. 😦


Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

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