Agile NBA Events Intro
Prescribed events are used in the Agile NBA Framework to create consistency and to maximize team performance throughout each Sprint as the team strives to reach its overall goal. All events have a maximum time frame and must be completed within that time to avoid distraction from day to day operations and activities.
Aside from the 10 Game Sprint, which comprises of the other Agile NBA Events (Sprint Planning Session, Sprint Review Meeting, Sprint Retrospective and Post Game Meetings), each event in Agile NBA serves the purpose of increasing transparency, promoting inspection and self-organization, and building basketball team synergy. Failing to deliver on any of these events throughout the process will result in undesirable performance.
10 Game Sprint
The core of the Agile NBA Framework is a Sprint, an incremental schedule of 10 games during which a set of specific target metrics and goals are accomplished. It is recommended that each of the Sprints have a consistent number of games to ensure consistency when measuring progress and effectiveness of various strategies and game plans implemented throughout the season. When the Sprint is completed, the next Sprint begins immediately.
Sprints contain and include the Sprint Planning Session, the 10 scheduled games, the Post-Game Meetings, the Sprint Review Meeting, and the Sprint Retrospective.
During the Sprint the following rules apply:
- Adjustments cannot be made to the Sprint Performance Dashboard that keeps team from reaching the Sprint Goal,
- Existing performance benchmarks do not decrease, and,
- Players can change the metrics they plan to achieve as long as it does not decrease their planned value,
- Goals may be re-negotiated between the lead analyst and player(s) as more is learned regarding the value of metrics.
Each Sprint is considered a period of performance over a 10 game stretch where evaluation and necessary adjustments are made. Sprints are used to get players accustomed to hitting target goals and improving upon an area of weakness or other attribute deemed critical to achieving the organization’s overall goal. Each Sprint has a definition of the goal to be accomplished, a plan that will be followed, how success will be defined, and the results.
Sprints are limited to 10 games. When a Sprint’s duration is too long the strategy and plan to accomplish it may change, focus may diminish, and performance may decrease. The predictability of Sprints are increased through empiricism gained through incremental inspection and adaptation, and by measuring progress toward overall team goals at least every 10 games. Sprints also limit unidentified performance issues to 10 games or less.
The NBA season consists of between 6-8 preseason games and 82 regular games, totaling approximately 90 games, excluding the post season. There are 9 Sprints in an NBA season -with the first Sprint beginning on the first game of the preseason.
- Sprints 1 and 2 – Focus on gathering a performance baseline (preseason plus first 12-14 games)
- Sprints 3 through 7 – Making performance adjustments, evaluating player compatibility and ROI, learning which performance improvement strategies yield the greatest results. Making trades based on the lead analyst recommendations.
- Sprints 8 and 9 – Fine tuning strategy, increasing synergy, adjusting goals based on historical Sprint data and performance.
- Sprints 10+ – Playoffs. Maintaining state of synergy.
Sprint Planning Session (and Sprint Goal)
The metrics to be achieved during the Sprint is determined at the Sprint Planning Session. The Sprint Plan is a collaborative work among the lead analyst, coaching staff and players.
Sprint Planning Sessions are limited to a maximum of eight hours for a 10 game Sprint. The Agile NBA Consultant ensures that the Sprint Planning Session takes place and that everybody understands its purpose. The Agile NBA Consultant teaches the team to keep the session within the eight hour time frame.
Sprint Planning Sessions answer the following:
- What areas can we improve and which goals can we reach in the upcoming Sprint?
- How will the players deliver the desired results?
- What will the team needs to do in order to achieve its Sprint Goals?
What areas can we improve?
The lead analyst works with the players to forecast the performance results they will need deliver during the Sprint. The lead analyst discusses the Sprint objective and metrics in the Performance Metric Log which are critical to reaching the Sprint Goal. The team collaborates on the plan to achieve the Sprint Goal. It usually takes a few Sprints for the lead analyst to create accurate value estimates, but once metric impacts are better understood and value assignments are tweaked, results can become predictable.
The inputs to this meeting are the Performance Dashboard, the previous Sprint results, projected capabilities of the players during the upcoming Sprint, and past performance of the players. The value of metrics selected from the Performance Dashboard comprises the player’s Planned Value for the upcoming Sprint. During Sprint Planning, players receive a Player Value Card which has the team performance metrics and their associated values for that player for each game within the Sprint (based on the player’s matchup strength).
The selected metrics to be achieved on each Player Value Card are the sole decision of the players. Only the players can determine what performance goals they can achieve during the upcoming Sprint. However, the combined player’s Total Planned Value should be equal to or greater than the lead analyst’s Recommended Team Value. A key role for the players is to encourage their team mates to push themselves and set challenging goals that will help the team maximize value and achieve its overall goal. This is a self-organization characteristic of an Agile NBA.
After the players and lead analyst forecast performance for the upcoming Sprint Performance Dashboard and value is estimated, the team develops the Sprint Goal, which are the objectives that should be met during the Sprint by executing the Sprint Strategy and achieving the metrics listed in the Sprint Performance Dashboard.
How will players deliver desired results?
Now that the Sprint Goal and the selected the Sprint Performance Dashboard metrics are identified, the players must decide how they will accomplish their goals during the Sprint. This forms the team’s Sprint Strategy. The Sprint Performance Dashboard metrics selected for this Sprint plus the plan developed to deliver them is the Sprint Strategy.
The players usually start by developing personal and team strategies needed to accomplish the Sprint Performance Dashboard metrics selected. The value of metrics listed may vary from Sprint to Sprint, depending on the matchups throughout the Sprint. The goal is to increase value points each Sprint.
The lead analyst determines what the key metrics are to achieve their Sprint Goal (planned value and expected wins/losses). Players forecast what performance metrics they believe they can accomplish in the upcoming Sprint. The strategy for the first game or two of the Sprint is outlined during this meeting.
The players self-organize to execute the Sprint Strategy, both during the Sprint Planning Session and as needed throughout the 10 game Sprint. Assistant Coaches and the coaches guide players toward a state of synergy.
The lead analyst can help to clarify the selected Sprint Performance Dashboard metrics and make trade-offs if higher value metrics are identified or team circumstances change.
As a result of the Sprint Planning Session, the players should be able to explain to the lead analyst, coach, and key Stakeholders how they intend to accomplish the Sprint Goal and deliver the anticipated performance. This forms the self-organizing concept of Agile NBA, where players contribute to and have buy-in to the strategy and what they must do to create and sustain value.
What will the Team need in order to achieve its Sprint Goal?
There will be times, based on the data and/or the feedback from players when it becomes evident that a player change will need to be made in order to give the team the skills it needs to reach its goals. Frequent inspections and continuous adaptation help make player decisions easier, as the lead analyst is able to provide the organization with specific key attributes and skills the team needs in order the fill performance or skill gaps. And scouts are able to identify the players who fulfill these needs. The Agile NBA Consultant and lead analyst are responsible for ensuring that these decisions are available and backed by solid data.
The Sprint Goal is a set of metrics for the Sprint that the individual players and the team as a whole can meet to achieve its planned outcome (wins-losses and total value). It provides clarification into how reaching the goals of the Sprint contribute to the overall team goal. The Sprint Goals are identified during the Sprint Planning Session meeting. The player’s planned value, the team’s planned value and the projected wins/losses comprise the Sprint Goal. The Sprint Goals become the set of objectives that encourage the players to work together to achieve team goals. When the team deviates from its overall goal, the coach makes adjustments to strategy and team analyst re-evaluates metric values in the upcoming Sprint.
During practices and games, players keep the Sprint Goal in mind. If unplanned events cause a player or players to not be able to achieve their Sprint objectives (such as injury, suspension, major slump, trade), they collaborate among themselves and with help from assistant coaches and analysts to identify how other players can pick up the slack to avoid renegotiating the Sprint Goal.
The Post-Game Meeting is a 15-minute event for the players to reflect on the game and create/validate their plan for the next game. This allows the team to decide if the adjustments made from the previous game were effective.
The Post-Game Meeting is held at consistent times (such as immediately following the game) to reduce complexity and promote consistency). During the meeting, the players review the stat sheets as they compare to their individual and team goals (planned value) and they make self and team assessments on the following:
- How did I perform this game against my assigned metrics?
- What areas I’ll improve on next game?
- What obstacles may jeopardize team from meeting our Sprint Goal?
The Post-Game Meeting allows the team to inspect the impact of the previous game’s adjustments as well as make adjustments if progress is deviating away from the Sprint Goal. The Post-Game Meeting increases the probability that the players and team as a whole maintain buy-in to the strategy and meet their Sprint Goals. Every game, the players should understand their plan for working together as a self-organizing, synergistic team to achieve their goals. The Post-Game Meeting offers quick detailed discussions necessary to determine whether adaptation or re-planning is necessary to achieve the Sprint’s Goal.
The team members (players and coaching staff) are the only ones required to attend the Post-Game Meeting. The Agile NBA Consultant ensures that the post-game meeting takes place and that the key questions are answered by each of the players, but the players and coach are responsible for conducting the meeting and assessing their performance. The Agile NBA Consultant teaches the players to keep the Post-Game Meetings within the 15-minute time frame and to be open, honest and true to themselves and their team mates.
Post-Game Meetings improve communications, eliminate confusion of team/player goals, quickly identify issues the team needs to resolve, and improve player IQ level. They are an opportunity for players to identify and address bad habits before team synergy deteriorates. Post-Game Meetings support the inspect, adapt, self-organize and synergy pillars.
Sprint Review Meeting
Sprint Review Meetings are held at the completion of each 10 Game Sprint. The purpose of the meeting is to inspect the results of the Sprint and adapt the Sprint Performance Dashboard metrics and value for next Sprint, if needed. During the Sprint Review Meeting, the team and invited attendees discuss what they achieved during the Sprint, what they need to improve upon in the upcoming Sprint and any obstacles or challenges that may keep the team from meeting its overall objectives.
Based on this collaboration, as well as any changes to the Sprint Performance Dashboard during the Sprint, the team determines the next metrics that need incorporated to the upcoming Sprint to optimize performance and produce wins. This is an informal meeting and the purpose is to gather feedback and foster transparency among the team.
The Sprint Review Meeting is a four-hour meeting following each 10 Game Sprint. The Agile NBA Consultant ensures that the Sprint Review Meeting takes place and that everyone understands its purpose. The Agile NBA Consultant ensures that the meeting stays within the four-hour time frame.
The Sprint Review Session includes the following elements:
- The lead analyst invites the team and key stakeholders to the Sprint Review Meeting;
- The lead analyst presents which Sprint Performance Dashboard metrics were achieved and which ones were not;
- The lead analyst presents potential new areas for improvement, and/or new analytics to observe and evaluate;
- The players discuss what went well during the Sprint, what challenges they faces, and how those challenges were overcome, or will be resolved in the upcoming Sprint;
- The lead analyst discusses the Sprint Performance Dashboard as it stands, and projects the likely performance targets necessary to be met in order to reach team goals;
- The entire group collaborates on how it will collectively, and individually, meet performance goals in the upcoming Sprint, which becomes an input to the Sprint Planning Session;
- Review of fan and management approval of the product that the organization is putting on the court;
- Discussion on any risks (changes, distractions or obstacles) that may keep the team from reaching its goals. This allows teams to address off court issues that could potentially affect team chemistry and gain buy-in on how issue will be handled.
The result of the Sprint Review Meeting is an updated Sprint Performance Dashboard that defines the probable performance goals for the next Sprint. The Sprint Performance Dashboard may also be adjusted to reflect changes that occurred in the previous Sprint or anticipated changes in upcoming Sprint, such as trades, lineup changes, injuries, etc.
The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint.
The Sprint Retrospective occurs after the Sprint Review Session and prior to the next Sprint Planning Session. This is a three-hour time-boxed meeting for 10 Game Sprints. The Agile NBA Consultant ensures that the event takes place and that attendants understand its purpose.
The Agile NBA Consultant teaches all to manage the meeting within the time-box. The Agile NBA Consultant participates as a team member in the meeting for the accountability over the Agile NBA process.
The purpose of the Sprint Retrospective is to:
- Inspect the previous Sprint and evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness in terms of player collaboration, self-organization, goal attainment, and wins;
- Identify and order the performance targets that were hit and missed, and potential improvements; and
- Identify any obstacles or challenges that may keep the team from reaching its goals
During the Sprint Retrospective the Agile NBA Consultant helps the team improve, within the Agile NBA framework, its performance improvement processes, self-organizing processes and execution in the next Sprint. The team collaborates on ways it can increase synergy and quality of play.
The results of the Sprint Retrospective is the identification of performance improvement strategies and player efficiencies that it will apply during the next Sprint. The application of these improvements and efficiencies in the upcoming Sprint is the core of the adaptation principle in Agile NBA. While improvements are constantly being sought out and implemented throughout the season, post-season and even during games, the Sprint Retrospective provides another chance for the team to focus on inspection and adaptation.
Game management is key for any team’s success. The ability to know when to make substitutions, call time outs, foul, etc. can be the difference between regaining control of momentum and being the victim of a 15+ point run.
The coach is responsible for managing the game plan. In an Agile NBA organization, the coach leverages player feedback and analytics to craft and gain buy-in to strategy.
The assistant coaches are responsible for creating advanced scouting reports for upcoming games and offering the coach suggestions during the game based on that advance scouting.
Assistant coaches are responsible for tracking data during the game, which, combined with an analytic or stat tool can provide key insight for the coaching staff, and provide real time decisions.