MMA - Mixed Martial Agile

As agilists, we are often arguing over who's methodology is better and that you need to take a particular method as gospel. I want to tell you about how we changed and took an MMA approach

For about 20 plus years, I’ve been a member of a local karate club and even did a bit of competing when I was younger and didn’t understand the value of my face so much. The reason I started karate was that my parents wanted me to be able to have some chance of defending myself against ant would-be attackers (they didn’t realise that these days most attacks would come over the internet). Despite all these years of training, I can’t help but think that if being able to defend myself was the primary goal, spending 20+ years studying one thing might not have been the best use of my time.

MMA as most of us will is the acronym of Mixed Martial Arts – some of us remember it being called cage fighting. It’s based on the principle of having a broad base of knowledge and experience with a Mixture of different Martial Arts. MMA fighters, often specialise in one martial art, but to have any chance of continued success, they need to be strong in every area of their sport and as an Agile Technology Organisation, we need to be the same. In this talk, I’d like to set the scene (like above) and then go into various agile patterns and what they enable your team to do.

I can draw experience some large projects where we’ve spent some time looking at the Large Scale Scrum framework and how we could apply it. In both cases, we decided to take an “MMA approach” (although we didn’t have the name then) by introducing complimentary practices from the worlds of Scrum, Kanban, Lean, SAFe, XP and more to find the approach that suited the fight we were about to have.


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