5 Tips For Long Jumpers: A Sprinter's Approach to Agile Software Development

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Kevin Cross
Father, husband and general problem solver who loves coding SQL, C#, Salesforce Apex or whatever.

5 Tips For Long Jumpers:
A Sprinter's Approach to Agile Software Development

As a Sprinter, long jumping — applying momentum to progress by leaps and bounds — is a natural and complementary skill. In the following article, I will share my five tips to long jumping: avoid over-thinking, avoid burnout, expect gravity, fall focused, and fall forward. These five tips have been helpful to me not only in Track & Field but also in programming and project management. I hope they serve you well also.

Avoid Over-thinking.
There may be many approaches, but I will discuss two.

Precise process. High jumping and pole vaulting are good examples. If one has the core strength and correct process, the precision in executing the process is more important than the speed of the approach, i.e., some tasks have a quality bar one must rise over to be successful.

Rapid technique. Contrary to above, there is a little more margin for error here and raw speed is a factor. For example, in long jump, one can measure steps or sprint hard to the obvious target, i.e., marking off steps can slow one down unnecessarily in certain tasks.
The critical point here is: do not belabor simple tasks, but also do not under-think complex ones.

Avoid Burnout.
After gaining the proper momentum, it is tempting to take off like a rocket. Just be careful on the burn rate. One does not want to land in the same spot — exhausted.

What goes up must come down! Most projects have roadblocks; do not fear friction — adapt.
Expect Gravity.
If one's burn rate is too linear, the pull of gravity may end a task abruptly — again, "what goes up must come down." Remember, especially if one is Agile, directions change; therefore, plan ahead. If one covers a good distance before peaking, the path downward should cover decent ground also.

Fall Focused.
Do not forget technique. Speed is important, but by no means eliminates discipline. Stay on task while in flight. Focus on forward progress.

Do not let desired success negate actual success. One can achieve success on only two of the three project constraints — schedule, budget, and quality; therefore, on-time low-expense tasks may fall short on scope.
Fall Forward.
Do not ruin good effort by falling backward — leave the sandbox moving forward, i.e., do not let desired success negate actual success. This jump may not be one's best ever, but it may be enough to win. Winning affords more opportunity!

In short, choose an approach with appropriate thought, attack the tasks with disciplined aggression, and finish each effort with positive progress.

Best regards and happy coding,

Kevin C. Cross, Sr. (mwvisa1)

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