Run Your Sprints, Aim For Marathon (or half) 


If you see my bio, you will know that I love sport. Running is one of the sport that I regularly do.

I join this running team called ‘Team Chubby‘ since 2013. Don’t be fooled by the team name, because the people in that team definitely not reflecting the name hahaha, well at least not now. They used to be chubby but now they all (well most of them) are well shaped and run with the speed of lightning :D.

Here in Jakarta, running race is so common. You can register to any race for almost every month or even every week.

The race that I love the most is 2xu compression run. This year is their 3rd race. This year, I only register for this race. The race was held on 26 November 2017.

hm1In July 2017, I registered myself for a half marathon (21.1 km). The goal was only one… To get the finisher tee hahaha… *their finisher tee has a great quality and the cutting makes you look slimmer 😀

At the beginning, I didn’t have any target on how much time I should reach the finish line. I’m a bit lazy of running this year, I still do sport 5 times weekly, but not running.

After some consideration, I set my target at least I must finish before 3 hours 10 minutes. 

Wait… What is that have to do with Scrum? Keep on reading, guys.. We’ll get there 🙂

The Sprints

I was running alone that day. My friend who was agreed to run together somehow unseen. So I was filling my mind to avoid boredom.

I was thinking about ‘is there any relation between running race and scrum?
Apparently there is.
I’ll try to make the analogy easy to understand for you 🙂

First, let’s breakdown into Scrum Roles.
What are the Scrum Roles in this running analogy?

  • Product Owner
    hm2The product owner is the Time!
    Weird, huh? But true.
    Be it the time during the training or the time gate on the race day.
    The time was the one which accepted my running result.
  • Scrum Master
    hm3My Garmin watch was my Scrum Master!
    It kept me from tracking my running progress during the training sessions and during the race.
  • Development Team
    Well… Me 😀 and of course my running buddies who helped and encouraged me during training sessions and the race itself.

Then the Scrum Artifacts.
What are the Scrum Artifacts in this running analogy?

  • Product Backlog
    You name it!

    • As a runner I want to be able to run 10 km without stopping during the 1st week of training
    • As a runner I want to be able to run 10 km with max pace of 8 during the 1st week of training
      * pace 8: 1 km in 8 minutes
    • As a runner I want to run without cramp
    • As a runner I want to be able to run 15 km without stopping during the 2nd week
    • As a runner I want to feed myself with healthy foods
    • As a runner I want to train my upper body to support me during the run
    • As a runner I want to train my lower body to make my feet stronger during the run
    • Etc


  • Sprint Backlog
    I told you earlier that I was so lazy of running lately, so I only train 1 month before the race even though I was registering 4 months earlier.
    Which was stupid…but at least I still train 😀

    I split my training into 1 week time box.
    So let’s just say that each week is a 1 Week Scrum Sprint.
    Every week I chose my goal (which makes it a Sprint Goal) and every Sprint I pulled backlogs (which makes it the Sprint Backlogs).

    • Let’s say on the 1st week – Sprint 1:
      • As a runner I want to be able to run 10 km without stopping during the 1st week of training
      • As a runner I want to be able to run 10 km with max pace of 8 during the 1st week of training
      • etc
    • Then 2nd week – Sprint 2:
      • As a runner I want to be able to run 15 km without stopping during the 2nd week
      • etc


  • Product Increment
    You need to have increment every sprint, right?
    Well the increment was the result of the training.

    Let’s say after the 1st week I was able to run 10 km without stopping in pace 8, then I was ready to go for the next backlog. If not then I will continue the backlog in 2nd week.

    Which of course in Scrum, when you complete a sprint and the backlogs are not completed, you put it back to the Product Backlog and plan the next Sprint.
    On the other hand, if you complete the backlogs, you can continue with other backlogs for the next Sprint.

How about Scrum Events?
What are the Scrum Events in this running analogy?

  • Sprint Planning
    This is the time when you plan for what you will achieve in the upcoming week.
    What your small goals to reach your final goal.
  • Daily Standup
    Everyday in my training week, I inspected and adapted what I’d achieved to plan for a better result tomorrow.
  • Sprint Review
    I reviewed my training result in my Garmin Connect apps to see the result during the week.
  • Sprint Retrospective
    By the end of the week, I checked my training result and reviewed what I’d missed during the training, what I’d done good and what I could do to make it better.
    I also discussed with my running buddies what I needed to do to make the next week training better.

The Deployment Sprint


After 4 weeks of training (in Scrum you call it 4 Sprints), I reached the last week training. The week where I only have 1 week of training and end the week with race. *sigh*

Of course in Scrum, usually this is the Sprint where you deploy into production (I call it Deployment Sprint).

The Sprint Goal was: To finish 21.1 km before 3 hours 10 minutes. 

The Sprint Backlog was:

  • As a runner I want to run without cramp
  • As a runner I want to feed myself with healthy foods for the whole week
  • As a runner I want to sleep early before the race day so I can wake up fresh on the race day
  • As a runner I want to run on the first 15 km without stopping with pace 8
  • As a runner I want to continue the next 6.1 km with run and speed walk with max pace of 10
  • As a runner I want to finish the race before 3 hours 10 minutes
  • As a runner I want to get my finisher tee

The Race

26 November 2017. The Race Day.

There I was, woke up early at 2 AM, got myself ready for the race, rode to the race venue and lined up behind the start line.

I ran the first 6 km with no issue, even under pace 8.
Then up to 10 km, I got tired, but still manage to run under pace 9.
The next 5 km (from 10 km to 15 km) I was really tire. That’s the effect of not preparing myself well. I still kept on running, but slow. Cannot managed to run in pace 8, I ran in pace 9 but still under pace 10.

Then I was thinking, “ok, I think I will push myself to run until 17 km – go a little further than the plan“.
But then I was blocked on the intersection where there were cars passing by and I needed to stop. One of my weakness is that when I stop running, it will be hard to start again, especially when I already too tired.

So then I continued the last 6 km with running and walking.
The good thing was I keep the run walk under pace 10 – which was as planned.

That’s exactly what we used to have in our Scrum Project, right?

We plan the sprint, we estimate the backlogs, we give story points and we are confident that we’re going to complete the Sprint with no issue at all.

But then during the days when we do our Sprint, things happened.
Sometime we got stuck, network issue, team got sick, electricity down, unexpected errors, etc.

Or sometime when we think we can go a bit further – an extra mile – situations just not supporting us.

Remember I said that I was slowing down because I was not preparing myself well?
In Scrum Project that could be the result of having technical debt or because we don’t plan our Sprint well.

The Result

So, how was the race result?

I managed to finish in 3 hours 5 minutes 😀
Cool, huh?
note: this is super slow – especially if there are runners read this – 😀
I won’t try to defend myself … I’m a slow runner hahaha

But the good thing was the Sprint Goal satisfied! And it’s all because of the right planning, inspection and adaptation.


Many things we can relate to Scrum. You can see it everywhere in your daily life. You just need to open your eyes and expand your mind to see it.

On the other hand, many things in your life can be handled using Scrum Framework. Be it household issue, kid’s school final test, etc.

My message to you in this new year: Do you things (be it in life or in Scrum) one at a time, sprint by sprint and aim for your marathon, the final goal of your Scrum Project.

Try to implement the Scrum principals in your daily life and think of Scrum as easy as your daily life will kill two mosquitoes in one clap 🙂

Happy new year, all!


4 thoughts on “Run Your Sprints, Aim For Marathon (or half) 

  1. Dear Anna,
    your story is motivating and interesting to read 😀
    nevertherless, if i’m allowed to share my opinion, its gonna be like this:
    Time is just a TimeBox for the Sprint since Time can’t think to reorder the backlogs which one that more valuable to be completed first, but a people (or an expert system) can do it.
    You were the Development Team and the Product Owner, due to PO and DT may doing refinement about the backlogs (in term of scope and/or the ordering) during the Sprint to keep Sprint Goal being Achieved.
    There was also a Scrum Master inside you, who was acting as your partner and/or coach, the SM motivate the DT (your self) to solve her problems when some impediments rise up
    your Garmin watch is just a Tool (eg: Trello, Jira, Etc), that the DT can use to inspect their own progress and then adapt to keep their Sprint Goal being achieved
    please correct me if i’m wrong, cheers, 😀


    1. Hi dayu
      Thanks 🙂

      Well you can think of it that way too, though.
      Everything can be interpreted differently.

      It’s good to listen to other opinions.

      But fyi, the time I refer here is not about timebox, but it’s timestamp.
      Like how much is the time I use to reach some kilometers


    1. Hi meiko hahhaa
      It’s cool, right… Knowing that scrum can be implemented in mostly everything… Even with running preparation


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