Monday Morning Agilist
Nerds and athletes have more in common than most people imagine, or either side cares to admit. I know how similar they are because I live/lived in both worlds.
Throughout my life, I avoided mixing the two. Neither of my groups of friends wanted to hear about the other. In the locker room, I was the nerd getting a degree in computer science. In the classroom, I was the jock that wasn’t supposed to be in Calculus III, Discrete Math, or Design & Analysis of Algorithms.
As my software engineering career progressed, I downplayed the importance of athletics in my life and how it helped me scale personal and team success as a leader. Why? Just like in my college courses, many engineers have a disdain for sports and athletes in general. In fact, I had mentors suggest that I never use another sports metaphor again.
As I matured, I grew into embracing the fabulous lessons sports taught me and how they helped me succeed in my career. My children were the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.” As parents, my wife and I keep pushing our children to embrace uniqueness in everyone, including themselves. After a little reflection, I realized that I wasn’t “practicing what I was preaching” by downplaying the importance of sports in my career development. The symbiotic relationship provided to me from sports and agile software development is a unique gift, and I was hiding it!
This pushed me to leap off the cliff with a podcast episode explaining the parallels between agile and college football. That was so well received that I turned into a conference talk. Now I start a series of articles detailing those parallels in hopes that my unique perspective helps just one reader.
I’ve written this post almost a dozen times, but never hit the “publish” button for fear of the backlash from peers that viewed sports as <insert your favorite insult here/>. I am past that now.
Feedback from the podcast episode and conference talks is positive. Heads nod, notes are jotted, and attendees ask a million questions each session.
The Pregame Show
College football was agile before agile was a thing. There was no choice. Saturday afternoon opponents roll into your stadium whether your team is ready or not.
The teams that win week after week out are the ones that minimize wasted effort by continually increasing the understanding and execution of their game plan. Sound familiar?
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Once a month, I’ll post an article continuing my “Monday Morning Agilist” series. If you want a jump-start on future topics, check out our podcast episode. Stay tuned for more!