As most people know, to sprint means to move as fast as possible, typically for a short distance. Elite runners may sprint 400 meters. Marathon runners will sprint, but certainly not over the whole 26.2 mile race. Even NASCAR's Sprint Cup cars do not red-line their engines for an entire race even though the cars are completely rebuilt between each race.

My point deals with the Agile Methodology's (http://agilemethodology.org/) misuse of the term "sprint". In the Agile world, a sprint is an incremental piece of work. Who really believes that eighth consecutive sprint enables an Agile project to move as fast as possible? Despite the obvious answer to that question, I do not expect to redefine decades old Agile terms. I would simply like to share some practical advice on dealing with those everlasting project milestones.

The cycling world leverages a widely used technique called interval training (http://www.intervaltraining.net/). The interval training technique combines a mix of interval and recovery periods. Interval periods call for the rider to pedal as hard as possible for a manageable period of time. During the interval, the rider's heart races and body aches. Then comes the recovery period when the rider gets to relax a bit. Do not confuse recovery with a rest stop. During the recovery, the rider still exerts effort, but after an interval the recovery is a welcome change of pace.

What does interval training have to do with project work? Consider the developer who has been coding most of the day and finally hit the proverbial wall, unable to solve that next problem. What now? Rather than continually staring at the screen hoping the answer will appear, how about doing something different to see if some progress might still be made? You could start writing that blog you always meant to write (perhaps even the one about the problem needing to be solved). You could read that article that interested you earlier. What about walking over and asking that question you wanted to ask of that person on that other project? Did you ever complete that CBT you meant to take a while ago? All of those options exert effort and might advance enough progress to keep project managers satisfied.

The trick is remaining honest with yourself. Are you fully committed to your intervals? Are you still making progress during your recoveries? Recovery and rest stop are not synonymous. A few minutes playing Angry Birds is not likely to kill you or your project. Just realize that project managers might not see it that way. Most importantly, recognizing the differences between intervals, recoveries, sprints and rest stops enables you and your team to better address the challenges facing us daily.