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Agility in Sports

Another great example of Agile Principles used outside the IT industry

10 April 2015

Recently, one of my colleagues shared with me an interesting article in which Dhoni (captain of the Indian cricket team) shares his approach on how to deal with high-pressure situations in games. Especially of interest is his take on how setting small targets and showing self-control helps while chasing down bigger targets.

After reading the article, I kept thinking about how similar his thoughts were to the Agile Principles, which I coach to teams on a daily basis. Dhoni's approach is an excellent example of being Agile, and the associated benefits of that behavior in a non-IT environment.

According to Dhoni:
"It's all about setting 'small targets,'" he said, and showing an amount of self-control. "I think what's important is to break the number of runs into small, small [requirements]: these next two or three overs, we need to take 10 runs or 15 runs or even 8 runs."
This quote is an excellent example of how setting smaller, achievable targets helps teams reach the final goal, however challenging it might seem in the beginning.

Dhoni also speaks about sustainability through self-control, which is a very important Agile Principle:
"When you take the big score and break it into small targets and you keep achieving those targets, it gives you confidence. Also a factor: Who is bowling well, who can you target? It sounds really complicated, but more often than not, when you are in those situations it's the subconscious that is working."
This quote is an example of how to keep yourself motivated -- and also about how to self-organize using the inspect-and-adapt approach to your advantage (who is bowling well? Whom can you target?).

You can read the full article here:

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