Agile From the Mouths of Babes


So I want to share with our team some Agile-founded positive energy that I experienced last night with a group of kids on a baseball team. First, picture a small group of 7 and 8 year olds huddled together on one knee and having this conversation. I was filling in as an assistant coach for my son’s U8 baseball team. We had skills stations with groups of 5. My first station of kids started off like typical 7 and 8 year olds do (herd of kittens) and one of them unintentionally said something that hurt another’s feeling ensuing in tears. I stopped the chaos and had them all sit on a knee around me – the group of kittens were herded and actually listening (for the moment). I asked each one to describe to the group what a team meant to them in their own words.

Here is some of what was said, I paraphrased a little:

  • “My friends. People who I like to play baseball with and have fun.”
  • “A group of kids that back each other up. You know like if he misses the ball then I help him out and get it. That’s a team helping each other out.”
  • “We work together and play different positions.”
  • “We play baseball together so that the team can win the game.”

Next we had a retrospective on the night before:


  • “I hit the ball and got on base for the first time. I even got to score!”
  • “I caught a ball and threw someone out. That was cool!”
  • “Did you guys see Z’s diving catches and throwing people out? Z is really good.”

What do you want to do better?

  • “I want to learn how to catch fly balls. I missed a couple.”
  • “I want to hit better so I need to practice.”
  • “I want to get better so I can play the infield.”

The responses were so genuine, innocent, and demonstrated some of the basics of a unified team and continuous improvement principles we find within building Agile teams. They’ve never been trained (well, maybe my son. I practice presentations on him, poor kid) yet, they naturally exhibited what we are trying to teach. This exercise started with a crying kid and I continued by preceding each group shift change with a knee down, let’s talk. I found this very rewarding and refreshing so I wanted to share a quick success story Agile-based.

If you took time to read this, thanks for humoring me. I hope you could vision a group of 7 and 8 year old kids all huddled around each other on one knee. Actively engaged in a coaching moment and conducting a mini-retro!

From the mouths of babes, literally...

Anthony RegisterComment