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An Agile FASTNET RACE 2013 Sprint

Ever thought you can draw a parallel between Agile and sailing? Or you could view your skipper as the Product Owner, and yacht team members as Scrum team members? Richard tells the story of the FASTNET Race, how their crew was managed, and what they achieved.


We sort of understood what the client wanted:

 Our high level plan:

Start from Cowes (on time)
Sail South West
Go flat out nonstop, but with sustainable pace of two watches 3 hours on 3 hours off for at least 4days
Turn right at the Scilly Isles
About turn at the Fastnet
Retrace steps
Turn left at the Scilly isles
Finish in Plymouth
Arrive back with the same number of crew as you started with, ideally - still in working order

The Product Owner - Peter (Skipper (the Yacht owner))

The Scrum Master – Alex

The Scrum Team Members:

John and Richard – Watch 1

Pauline and Mike – Watch 2

The technical environment (JAVELIN)


Sprint planning

A readiness assessment by the RORC committee

Sustainable Pace 1 of 2

Sustainable Pace 2 of 2

A burn-down ‘chart’ for the Product Owner!

2.5 Days into the Sprint – And we are half way down the burn chart:

OK - Definitely you’re more agile than us!

And finally, ‘Done-Done’.


The Retrospective (6:30 AM over breakfast)

ScrumMaster “I think we know how we could have done it quicker… Next time [ha] we’ll …”


The End Product (yellow track):



Sprint duration 4.75 Days

Sprint Velocity 6.41 Nm/Hour

660 Nm logged for the 608 Nm course

Blockers overcome:

HMS “Not allowed to say’ in the way

Russian freighter – blocking the entrance to Plymouth Sound in the last of the 600+ miles.

Failing boat batteries

Images source: Personal archive


Richard Lindsay

Richard Lindsay

Richard is providing excellence in Business Transformations in IT-enabling or -led environments, value delivery using Agile, enterprise scaled transformation, Lean and Kanban. He is supporting and developing people with behavioural and cultural understanding to produce transformations that both work and thrive. Read more