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Coaching Football and Agile Applications: It’s Game Time

Many business analysts and heads of industry find themselves in compromising situations. Their team is down and they can’t seem to move the business properly towards the goal. It seems your competitor across the field is always one step ahead, providing results and fan [customer] satisfaction. But how did they do it and why can’t you come back?

Game Planning

This powerful opponent of yours has come up with a great game plan. The product they use – whether it’s the right gloves, cleats, breathable uniforms, etc. in sports – or a better system from order receipt, to entry, to delivery in business – is fundamentally better… but why? Did this opponent read the weather forecast and plan for adverse conditions? Are they just more talented with players or products that are just better suited for the game? Do they have systems in place that allow for adjustment depending on what is working and what isn’t?


Many of us head into planning a certain way based on what we have and who we’re up against. Let’s say you’re going into the match against the #1 passing team in the league. You spent the whole week practicing your nickel pass defense with plans to stop their attack. But what happens when you get into the game and you realize that their third string ball carrier is a beast? He’s tearing your defense up all over the field. Do you continue to play the pass even though they are running on every single down? No, you need to adjust your game to play with them.

In business it’s the same way, let’s take the classic example of the traditional video store. For years it was all about having the largest selection, being in a convenient location, and providing rentals at a reasonable price. In comes a new team with a new strategy, let the customer handle every transaction online without ever having to leave their house. Some of the traditional storefronts adjusted, downsizing locations and adding a similar online offering to their large customer base.

How does this all tie together?

Much like the coach that is able to switch his defense to line up eight in the box against the team running all over them, the large video store needs to be able to position itself against a competitor’s strategy. But what if this company doesn’t have the ability modify its business strategy? What if they need a complete overhaul of its application infrastructure to do so? This is going to cost the business large amounts of time and money. The money will absolutely have to be spent if the company wants to stay in the game for the long haul. But what about the time it takes to develop the application?

Many of the mid-sized video providers didn’t have the brand, size, nor money to bridge them into this new age of video rental. By the time they were able to come to market with a suitable offering, they were competing against the other small companies who also didn’t adapt fast enough. Do yourself a favor and build your original application on a platform that is agile and can change with your business needs. That’s the moral of this story – agility wins.

This entry was published on Jan 04, 2011 / Posted in Business Analysis, Agile Methods, Career as a Business Systems Analyst. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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