Why Sprints are like Tetris
We are all familiar with the classic game of Tetris, but why is it like a sprint? Well, as we know the way to score highly in Tetris is to manoeuvre falling shapes to slot next to each other with no spaces so that solid lines are formed. The solid lines then are removed from the playing area, allowing space for more shapes to fall and be manoeuvred. If we start allowing space between the shapes into the playing area by not manoeuvring the shapes fast enough, the shapes take up more room and pretty soon, its Game Over.
In Sprint, it is the Scrum development team’s responsibility to manoeuvre their tasks in the most efficient way so that everything is completed or ‘done’ by the end of the timebox. If they are not effective at doing this through lack of self- organisation and collaboration, they are effectively allowing space, or ‘waste’ to form between their shapes. Obviously, there are times when the sprint goals are threatened, such as when complexity is underestimated, or there is unexpected absenteeism. This is fine. It happens. All the team need to do is continue to play their sprint Tetris well. They can remove some stories, concentrating only on what can be completed, and continue to manoeuvre those tasks efficiently for the remainder of the sprint. So the moral of the story is, Space is waste!