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Scrum Applicability: A Scenario

Conventionally, Scrum is used in software development. However, its simple and easy to understand framework allows it to be applicable to any walk of life. Indeed, it can even be applied to our non-professional lives! Here’s a scenario:

It’s the beginning of the Year, and I’m determined to shed those extra pounds. What’s more, I’ve promised myself a healthier me! I want to join a gym, but can’t afford to do so. However, my encouraging and large-hearted sister offers to pay for my membership. So, I join the local gym and I enlist the help of my SCRUM MASTER, the ultra-fit gym trainer. And, who’s the PRODUCT OWNER? My gym membership-paying-stakeholder-sister, of course!

MY PRODUCT: Losing 20lbs over the course of the next six months and maintaining that weight loss!

PRODUCT BACKLOG: Losing 20lbs in six months, a healthier diet, incorporate exercise into everyday life (such as climbing the stairs with my laptop in hand or riding the bicycle to my sister’s, who lives 8 blocks away).

SPRINT DURATION: 4 weeks

Sprint 1:
PLANNING MEETING: I have a chat with my trainer about how I could achieve my goals. Rather than telling me what to do, he gives me some literature to read on healthy weight loss and then asks me to create my own weight loss program (how many times a week I want to train for, what I think I should eat for breakfast, etc). If he feels I am pushing myself too hard such that it would be difficult to achieve my goals during the current sprint, he would suggest toning things down a little.

As I was the one who created the goals and decided how much I could do for each sprint, I felt more responsible to actually achieve what I had aimed for. Therefore, I would hesitate to either ‘cheat’ or create the excuse that my instructor is being too hard on me.

So, the goals for this sprint (AKA my SPRINT BACKLOG) are: Go to the gym 4 times/week, lose 4lbs, eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables everyday, cut out junk food.

DAILY STANDUP: I have a chat with my instructor at the end of each day. Excerpts from random days:

*Day 3- “I ran 2 miles on the treadmill in 35 minutes. I politely refused the bar of chocolate I was offered by my nephew.”

*Day 12- “I ran 2.8 miles on the treadmill in 35 minutes, and I ate a bowlful of salad before lunch and dinner. However, rather than walking or using my bicycle, I drove down to the local 7-11 Store!”

*Day 17- “I climbed all the way up to my office on the 4th floor, holding a fat-free strawberry smoothie and my laptop bag slung over my shoulder.” (Yeah!!!)

*Day 28- “I ran a whopping 4 miles in 35 minutes! I even received a few compliments about how good I’m looking of late! This motivated me to choose low-calorie pistachios as my mid-day snack, rather than the bag of chips I had earlier been craving for.”

As I have to actually voice what I had done each day during the Standup, I am taking stock of how I’ve been accomplishing my goals in increments. Voicing my impediments allows my ScrumMaster to see where and how I am struggling, and I am then given appropriate suggestions, which I apply.

At the REVIEW MEETING with my ScrumMaster and Product Owner, my weight, resting pulse rate, and strength levels are measured. During the RETROSPECTIVE, I openly introspect on how I could improve, for example, doing more weight training, actually drinking the stipulated 10 glasses of water/day! I then try to incorporate these points into my lifestyle for the next sprint.

Incorporating Scrum into my weight loss program promoted greater ownership and motivation. As I was the one who made the decisions and gave my own feedback, I felt more responsible for my weight loss and so this motivated me to push myself harder and achieve my goals.

Read about how fellow Conscires family member, Lisa Montano, incorporated Scrum in her kitchen in Baking with Scrum.