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Understand Cricket, Understand Scrum

7 June 2016

Sunder Iyer
Experian


The other day I was considering the idea of developing a collaborative planning workshop for a group with relatively little experience in Scrum (or for that matter any Agile practices), although they were brilliant specialists. I thought of cricket as a classic example to use in the workshop. The centuries-old game embodies a number of key Scrum/Agile principles, as follows:
 
  • Fixed sprint intervals — Fixed sized overs (6 balls). Every over is a sprint. This is the utmost critical factor to be able to derive a reasonably useful velocity.
  • Product owner — umpire. One source as a decision maker.
  • Release planning — target score. The team that bats first has a "vision" to score as much as possible, and the team that bowls first has a "vision" to get the batsmen out with as few runs as possible. Similarly, the next batting team has a vision to score at least one run more than the opponent team’s score; whereas the next bowling team has a vision to give up minimal runs and get the opponent's batsmen out. Understanding the vision is critical for success.
  • Definition of Done (DoD) — objective of batsmen. Score as much as possible and remain not-out.
  • Definition of Done — objective of bowlers/fielders. Get the batsmen out and enable maiden overs/minimum runs.
  • Sprint retrospectives. Both teams review their own performance at the end of each over and decide the best strategy to move forward to achieve their respective DoDs.
  • Sprint planning — planning prior to each over. The review between the respective teams leads to a new strategy to adapt to changes to achieve their objectives or DoDs.
  • Burn-down. The performance of each team in the sprints (overs) is the main input for analysis of the game. Depending on how the teams have performed, the remaining overs exhibit a trend indicating how the rest of the match is likely to run. Previous performances influence to a good extent; however, the result of the match is entirely dependent on various factors on the day of the match.
I was able to use these as my examples at the start of the workshop, which enabled me to convey the key principles of Scrum to the team! I hope others will find this comparison useful, too.
 

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.



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