What Agilists Can Learn From Watching 6 Year Olds Playing Soccer

October 17, 2017 — Posted by Al Shalloway

Since Scrum was modeled after a sport (rugby) I thought I’d write about its ancestor–soccer. I coached my youngest in soccer when he was 6.  As you might imagine, it was mostly 20 kids running around a ball with forlorn goalies on each side of the field. We told them they needed to space themselves out to no avail.  Finally, I got the idea of putting wristbands on the wrist which corresponded to the side of the field they were to play on.  We’d call out “look at your wrist” which worked surprisingly well.

I guess Agilists who propose Shu Ha Ri would say I was teaching via Shu.  But with adults new to soccer, I would tell them why we wanted them to spread out. Shu isn’t always best for adults.  As coach I might set strategy but would also include the principle behind the why of the strategy.

While soccer is a game and the rules are made up in the world the rules (laws) are fixed. If we tell people the rules of soccer shouldn’t we tell people the laws of software development when they are known? Most of what I hear in Agile are about values, practices, principles and frameworks for all of these.  There are laws out there – just like gravity.  Many of these have been figured out.  You don’t have to rediscover them.

Here are some of them Some Laws of Software Development from a past blog.

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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