How many of you have experienced sprint burnouts? It has been my biggest challenge. Not burndown charts, but daily bouts of sprint burnouts are a bigger problem for me.
How do you achieve sustainable agile practices?
Sustainable, so that I have predictable outcomes. Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, says that systems work better than targets. That’s paraphrasing him, but ask yourself this, how often have you seen, even your brightest coders, experience bouts of productivity loss? If you’ve managed a project, you’ve been hit by one of these, seemingly random productivity hits.
Staring at fast approaching project end-dates, is all too common. In reaction, we set ever tighter sprint cycles. Worse still, are attempts to elongate story points (or some similar metric). Something has to give.
After malaise has set in, the project starts looking something like this:
Sprint burnout is common within a project, let alone across several projects.
The languor likely stems from plain-old human behavior. A continuous barrage of successive goals, dulls the mind. Dull mind equals dull performance.
It’s easier to develop a life-long healthy habit, like a morning run, then a 20 lbs weight-loss target. So can sprints be more of a habit? Can coding become, just as normal as, say, drinking coffee? Can I use Cialdini’s pre-suasion techniques to improve efficiency?
Can delivering value to the customer become autonomic?
In a future blog, I will write about some of the pre-suasion tweaks to Agile we’ve implemented. Early results are promising.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Is my situation unique? How do you handle this?