How "Scrum" and "Agile" Can Get You Into Shape

In software development, “waterfall” is a process where everything is planned upfront and each team involved in the project works in a silo. When their respective work is complete, they hand it off to the next team in a cascading fashion (on a project plan it looks like a waterfall).

Throughout the entire project, there was little to no communication among any of the groups. The biggest pitfall to this is that by the time the product is complete, it either doesn’t resemble what was originally requested or if it does, needs and desires have likely already changed. Either way, the product is all but useless.

Most people take a “waterfall” approach to their fitness and nutrition goals. There is all of this upfront planning about what you’ll do for the next 12-16+ weeks but when we actually get to that part of the plan, expectations rarely meet reality. As they say, life happens.

Planning months in advance isn’t very effective. It’s important to have a sense of direction, yes. It’s equally important that the journey is flexible.

This is why the Perfect Fitness Framework pulls much of its influence from both Agile software development principles as well as the Scrum Framework, a methodology to bring those principles to life.

Unless you’re a professional athlete whose body and its performance is your job, we need to make sure we’re focusing on what’s most important to us at that moment. And even if you are a professional athlete, you’re still human and not immune to the ebbs and flows of life.

“Agile” is a mindset and “Scrum” is an application of that mindset. When I hear the word “agile,” I hear speed, quickness, and nimbleness. I hear communication, collaboration, and accountability. 

Yes, outcomes may come quicker using the Perfect Fitness Framework (though, not always) and last longer (almost always), but I think of agility in terms of the ability to quickly shift to what’s important right now and in being able to talk about why and how to bring that to life.

The core of the Perfect Fitness Framework is prioritization and iteration. This empowers us to quickly find what works so we can do more of that as well as what doesn’t so we can do less of that.

What you thought would be important in 8 weeks might not be and something you all but wrote off might now be the #1 thing to focus on to help move you forward. Action is everything and you’re only as good as the insight and information you have that drives that action.

So, that’s all fine and great but how can you apply this to your goals and your life? It’s pretty simple, really.

First, look at what you want. Do you want to drop some stubborn body fat? Maybe put on a bit of muscle? Run a bit further and faster? Get that first pull-up? Whatever it is, know what you want even if it’s a rough idea.

Next, think about what you have to do to make that happen. What skills, habits, and behaviors do you need to bring to life to bring that outcome to life? List out everything you think you need.

Third, take your list and put it in priority order. What’s the #1 most important skill, habit, or behavior? What in your list is going to move the most big rocks or move you forward the most? Like the “User Stories” that comprise a software development backlog, look at each of your SHBs through the lens of the value that they will create in your life. Be able to explain why your #1 priority is #1. What is this going to do for you? How will this change your life?

Fourth, for a set amount of time you’re going to focus exclusively on that #1 item. Don’t get fooled into thinking you can take on more than that. There is some cool research that I’ve heard referenced (I’m still trying to find the actual studies) that show you have an 85% chance of sticking with your goals if you focus on one thing. Focusing on 2 or more drops that number by more than half to about 30%. 

You may need to break down your #1 priority into chunks to make progress here as well. For example, for many of the folks I work with, meal-prepping is one of the most powerful and important habits for them and it very well might be your #1 priority.

That said, there’s a bit that goes into meal-prepping especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s not particularly challenging once you get the hang of it but like anything new, you’re not supposed to be very good when you first start.

There’s the planning piece as you research recipes to figure out what you want to eat. There’s the shopping piece where you get the food. There are the cooking and preparing pieces. There’s the portioning and storage piece. That’s a lot more than just “meal prepping” and each component is a skill in itself.

Be sure to split each skill, habit, and behavior you identified into chunks that you feel confident you can complete. You’ll see the natural progression in those chunks.

Meal-prepping doesn’t have to mean every single meal for all 7 days of the week. Maybe you start with lunch a couple of times a week and then build to a few more times a week. Then add in breakfast. And maybe get a few things for dinner squared up too so that you can pull things together versus starting from scratch.

Look for opportunities to focus on what’s most important first and don’t feel like you have to do everything all at once.

Iteration is your ally and secret weapon against this notion that you have to do everything to get what you want. Yes, if you want to be a healthy happy fit person you need to do the things that healthy happy fit people do but you don’t have to do it all at once.

On your side,


Evan CookComment