Wanting to make the comparison between agile software development and team sports, CA Technologies and The New York Times‘ T Brand Studio engaged us to tell the story through interviews with both sports coaches and software developers. The result was an interactive feature in The New York Times.
When Moravian College women’s basketball head coach Mary Beth Spirk leads her team into a game, she keeps her instructions from the sidelines to a minimum. “I want the players to be in charge,” says Spirk. For her, pregame and even preseason preparation is all about collaborating with a team to let them direct themselves during gameplay. “If you have a good team, they should know what should be done,” she says.
Training up a team and then letting them do their thing is what Code for America is all about. The San Francisco-based nonprofit acts as a kind of Peace Corps for agile software development. Its mission is to help local government agencies across the country develop the applications they need to best serve members of the public who use their services. “What we really are happiest about is when the people in a city feel like government is truly working for them,” says founder and Executive Director Jennifer Pahlka.
Talented software developers join Code for America for one-year stints as fellows, who are loaned out to government agencies that need help with their digital initiatives. Given the time limit, the fellows need to work fast to build teams that can collaborate effectively after they leave. The nonprofit’s agile-powered process fosters efficiency. “Instead of really long planning processes and big procurements, we do things in an agile, iterative, data-driven and, most importantly, a very user-centered way,” explains Pahlka.
Experience the full interactive feature at The New York Times: