Agile Analogy: sprints are way points on a road trip

Happy 111111!  I’m working on a BIG AGILE post discussing the “interlock dilemma” that challenges big companies (like my employer Dell) as we become more lean in our development approaches.  That thought exercise turned up an analogy that is worth sharing.

We use sprints like we are driving on a long road trip.  As we travel, we want to stop at regular intervals to:

  • make sure we’re still going in the right direction (check the map)
  • see if we’re going to fast (overheating the engine)
  • see if we need to go faster (storms behind us)
  • avoid traffic (market is congested)
  • linger if there’s something interesting around (customers?!)
  • abandon the whole trip (kids are fighting in the back seat)
  • change our destination (saw a cool billboard)
  • pick-up a hitch hiker (partnering)

It just does not make sense to drive forward blindly hoping everything works out.  We need to inject decision points into our journey so that we take the right path.  And we have to remember, the right path is rarely that exact one that we started on!

If your product journey is predictable enough to navigate without frequent checks then your problem is not unique enough to generate much value.