Losing (and Winning) with Scrum – Epic One, 362 Pounds

I’ve had my ups and downs with weight loss. In my adult life, I have been as high as ~400, and have been as low as 235. At 235, I ran several marathons. I’m currently back up into the mid-360s.

On April 10th, at the Global Scrum Gathering, I attended a breakout session called Ride the Scrum Wave to Health and Wellness (or How I Used Scrum Principles to Lose 40 lbs.) by Alex Brown. Alex is a Wharton School Graduate, the former COO of Scrum, Inc., and is currently a Principal at Glaessel Ventures. He’s also a very good speaker.

Alex shared how he used Scrum principles and practices to control his weight loss. He established meaningful, manageable, and achievable goals. He developed and prioritized the behavior changes he needed to introduce into User Stories, like “As someone trying to lose weight, I want to eat my last meal of the day before 8:00pm, because my body stores unspent calories overnight as fat.” He also instituted a short iteration period of a week, with his weigh-in the sprint review.

I’ve been a Scrum practitioner/evangelist for seven years, and I’m amazed this never occurred to me. I know that Scrum is not just for software development. At Kennedy Space Center, I coached some folks on using Scrum for Hardware, now a rapidly growing practice. I’ve even discussed using Scrum to manage our household goals with my wife, but using it for my weight… never occurred to me.

Immediately after this session, I started looking at my behavior and working on stories. I would begin my first sprint the following Monday. While I want to get back down into the lower 200s, I’m working on small 10-ish pound epics.

My starting Tech: A Fitbit Alta.

Starting:

  • Weight: 362 lbs
  • Waist size for pants: 56

User Stories: As someone trying to lose weight…

  1. I want to eat my last meal of the day before 8:00pm, because my body stores unspent calories overnight as fat.
  2. I want to walk 8,000 steps per day, to make sure that I am getting exercise and maintaining a minimum level of activity.
  3. I want to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, because when I don’t my body tries to substitute calories for rest.

This is all I had for this sprint. These were more-or-less taken verbatim from Alex’s list.

And so on to Sprint One I go. Time to start starting.

Sprint Results

Epic One Complete

  • Date: 5/7/2017
  • Weight: 351.4 (-10.6 lbs. in epic/ -10.6 lbs. total)

In all, I’m kinda ecstatic. This Epic went as well as I’d hoped. The main change I’m making to the overall process is that I’m moving Sprint Reviews to Sundays.

Time for Epic Two

View Epic T



Categories: Epic One, Scrum for Weight Loss

3 replies

  1. I really wanted to go this talk when I was at the Global Gathering in San Diego. I couldn’t because I was volunteering. I used Scrum to manage my health and wellness in the past with considerable success. This has really inspired me again to start my sprints – I will go with a sustainable pace now! Thanks. …Raj Kasturi

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Trackbacks

  1. Losing (and Winning) with Scrum – Epic Three – Dealing With Change – 340.8 lbs. – Agile Forth
  2. Losing with Scrum – Epic Four – Coronary Bypass Edition – Agile Forth

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