Two Weeks is Not a Sprint

We're moving to an "agile" development process at work. Yes, we're becoming scrumbags. ;) One of the terms that really bothers me is "sprint" because I think of a sprint as a flat-out effort. That means minimal eating, sleeping, or time with family. Even hard-core hackers rarely do that for two weeks at a time. I think a better metaphor for what's a sprint and what's not is running: 100m equals one day of coding. So...

  • 100m: the classic. Not much more to say about this one.

  • 200m = two days. A short hackathon. The focus shifts a bit from acceleration to maximum speed (productivity) and the overall pace is actually a bit higher because that startup time is amortized.

  • 400m = four days. A long hackathon, or close enough to a full week. Still a sprint, but at the upper end of the range.

  • 1500m/mile = two weeks (approximately). Another marquee distance. No longer a true sprint, but still fast. Most sensitive to pace, because it's long enough to burn out but not long enough to make many adjustments.

  • 5k/10k = a few months. Not much to say here either.

  • 40k/marathon = just over a year. The longest distance/duration most people plan for, though ultra-marathons do exist.

The mile seems like the closest equivalent to how "sprint" is used in agile terminology, so why don't we use good old-fashioned "milestone" instead?

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