Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

Practical advice for making agile work in the real world

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#32: Scrum in High School Sports with Cort Sharp

January 25, 2023     34 minutes

Join Cort Sharp and Brian Milner as they discuss experimenting with Scrum in other out-of-the-box environments, including how Cort uses it to train the high school swim team he coaches.


In this episode of the Agile Mentors podcast, Cort Sharp joins Brian to explore how to use Scrum tools in other environments outside of the software development arena.

Cort shares the lightbulb moment when he realized Scrum might help him become a more effective coach for his high school swim team.

Listen in as he walks us through his real-world experience using Scrum to coach swimmers, including what worked and what didn't and how he redefined things to make using Scrum successful for the team.

Listen now to discover:

[01:27] - Brian introduces Cort Sharp, the Agile Mentors Community Manager and high school swim coach.
[02:49] - Scrum is used chiefly in software, BUT there are other options. Examining out-of-the-box uses from Scrum.
[03:46] - Cort shares the story of how he got started as a high school swim coach.
[06:26] - Cort meets Scrum.
[08:39] - The discovery during Certified Scrum Training that led Cort to believe he could use Scrum to become a more effective swim coach.
[10:20] - Brian shares his own light bulb moment from his first exposure to Scrum.
[11:53] - What’s the product: Cort shares the process of translating Scrum to the swimming world.
[15:57] - How the sprint review brought everything home for Cort.
[17:03] - Evaluating how things were working with the parents of the swimmers (the stakeholders) at the weekly invitational swim meets.
[17:48] - Brian describes how Scrum helps you break things down into smaller, digestible chunks when you want to reach a big goal but don't see progress every day.
[19:02] - Cort shares how they developed the user stories for each swimmer and used feedback to develop the backlog for swim practices.
[19:44] - Cort shares the process of developing the backlog for swim practices.
[21:19] - How Agile principles (i.e., sustainable pace) translate into arenas other than software.
[24:30] - Cort explains how Scrum events like daily stand-ups and sprint reviews helped the team organize practices.
[24:47] - Which Scrum practices were harder to implement for the team? [26:47] - Opening yourself up to experimentation. (And how to reach Cort with your coaching ideas and suggestions).
[27:36] - Cort shares the biggest changes he had to make to make things work for the swim team.
[28:00] - So, who is the Scrum Master for the swim team? Redefining the Scrum roles and responsibilities to make them work in other environments.
[30:04] - Cort shares what he’s learned in the process of using Scrum with the swim team.
[33:29] - Do you have a topic or guest you'd like to see on the Agile Mentors podcast? If so, send us an email. We'd love to hear from you.

References and resources mentioned in the show

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He’s passionate about making a difference in people’s day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Cort Sharp is the Scrum Master of the producing team and the Agile Mentors Community Manager. In addition to his love for Agile, Cort is also a serious swimmer and has been coaching swimmers for five years.