Fantasy Software Development – Story Finding

As threatended promised, I’m going to look at the first phase of my Application – recording the results and outcomes of Soccer tournaments from the first days of the sport in 1871 through to the culmination of the first Football League Championship in 1889.

I’ll begin with a narrative description of the functional requirements of our application. OK, it’s more like a potted history of the early days of Association Football, but I’ve got to start somewhere.

I’ll use this to extrapolate some user stories, which I’ll then drop into Altassian Jira having taken advantage of a free Jira account.

If you’re an Oracle developer and reading this is your first experience of Scrum, then you may feel that it’s not an obvious fit for developing a data-centric application.
On the other hand, if you’re a Scrum officianado, you may be faintly horrified by the “free-form” way I’m approaching Scrum. So, something to annoy everyone then…

Association Football – The Early Years

Those of you less than enamoured of “the Beautiful Game” will not be unduly surprised to learn that it all started with a bunch of blokes in a pub…

On 26th October 1863, at the Freemason’s Tavern in London, the Football Association (FA) first came into being.
Despite this, the rules observed by it’s member clubs when playing the game remained somewhat fragmented.
There were several versions to choose from and clubs would agree a set of rules to adhere to when playing each other.

In an attempt to promote the “Association” rules ( adopted by the FA), Charles Alcock, Secretary of the FA came up with the idea of a Cup competition between all of the clubs affiliated to the Association.
All matches in this new competition would be played under this single set of rules.
Thus it was that Association Football ( soccer) really came into being several years after it’s governing body was founded.
To give a flavour of how fundamental this change was, the Rules established such matters as the number of players per side (11), and the duration of a match ( 90 minutes), which had not been consistent across the various football codes then extant.

The FA CUP

The first Tournament duly took place in the 1871/72 season.
The format can best be described as “sort of knock-out”.
Whilst the winners of a tie between two competing teams would advance to the next stage of the competition, this was not the only method of progression. There was, of course, the possibility of being awarded a bye, a free-pass to the next round if there were an odd number of teams in the current round.
Teams could also be awarded a Walkover, if their designated opponents withdrew.
Additionally, at the discretion of the competition’s organising committee, teams could advance if :
– they drew their fixture ( both teams could go through)
– they could not agree a date and venue with the opponents against whom they had been drawn.
Eventually, the 14 entrants were whittled down to Wanderers, who defeated Royal Engineers 1-0 in the Final, played on 16th March 1872 at the Kennington Oval in London.

Originally, the intention was for the cup holders to defend the trophy from challengers, hence the competition’s full name – The Football Association Challenge Cup.
For the 1872/73 tournament, Wanderers were given a bye all the way through to the final with the remaining matches being essentially and elimination event to find a challenger.
Wanderers were also given choice of venue and – perhaps unsurpisingly – managed to retain the trophy with a 2-0 win over Oxford University.

It’s only from 1873/74 that the competition settles down into a consistent knock-out format.

For the first 10 years of competition, the southern amateur teams dominated, and it was not until 1882 that a team from the north of England appeared in the final.
That year, Old Etonians saw off the challenge of Blackburn Rovers. It was to prove the end of an era.
In subsequent years the centre of power changed radically, Rovers’ local rivals Blackburn Olympic won the trophy the following season after which Rovers themselves, won three consecutive finals.

The Football League

By 1888, football in England was dominated by professional clubs in the North and Midlands. 12 such clubs formed the Football League and participated in the first season.
The League format consisted of each team playing all of the others, once on their home ground and once on the opponents’ ground.
For each match won, 2 points were awarded.
For a draw, one point was awarded.
No points were awarded for a defeat.
Teams finishing level on points would be separated by Goal Average.

Goal Average was calculated by dividing the number of goals scored over the course of the season by the number of goals conceded.

International Football

The first international took place on 30th November 1872 in Glasgow, when Scotland and England drew 0-0.
As the game spread to Wales and Ireland (which was then a single entity and part of the United Kingdom), matches between the four home nations became a regular occurrence. However, each association observed slightly different rules and this was the cause of some friction.
Eventually, the International Football Conference was convened in Manchester in December 1882. It was at this meeting where a common set of rules were agreed.
The first full season in which these rules were applied was 1883/84 and it’s subsequently been acknowledged that the matches played between the Home nations in that season comprised the inaugural British Home Championship – the first international soccer tournament.
The format was a round-robin with each nation playing the other once with home and away fixtures alternating between years.
The outcome of the tournament was decided using the same criteria as for the Football League, with the exception that Goal Average was not applied and teams finishing level on points were considered to be tied.
Given the influence of Scottish players on the development of the game, it’s little surprise that Scotland won the inaugural championship. Indeed, Scotland only failed to win one of the first six tournaments up to and including 1888/89.

I should point out that applying this format to the Home International Championship is slightly anachronistic.
Contemporary reports don’t include league tables and these seem to have been applied several years later, under the influence of the format adopted by the Football League.
For our purposes however, we’re going to proceed on the basis that this format was in place from the outset.

User Stories

To start with, I’ve identified three distinct user roles :

  • Football Administrator – generally runs the FA and sets up Competitions
  • Tournament Organiser – manages tournaments
  • Record Keeper – enters fixture data, including results and maintains league tables

The stories are written from the perspective of these users.

Football Administrator Stories

Title : Create Competition
 As a : Football Administrator 
 I would like to : create a competition
 so that : I can provide a structured environment for teams to participate
Title : Administer Teams
 As a : Football Administrator
 I would like to : Maintain details of teams 
 So that : I know which teams are eligible to enter competitions
Title : Administer Venues
 As a : Football Administrator
 I would like to : Maintain details of venues where matches can be played
 So that : I know where teams can fulfil fixtures.

Tournament Organiser Stories

Title : Create Tournament
 As a : Tournament Orgainiser
 I would like to : create a tournament
 so that : teams can compete against each other
Title : Specify a format for a tournament
 As a : Tournament Organiser
 I would like to : specify the format for a tournament
 so that : I can anticipate what fixtures may be played
Title : Define Tournament Rules
 As a : Tournament Organiser
 I would like to : Define the rules for the tournament
 So that : I know how to determine the outcome of the tournament
Title : Enter Teams
 As a : Tournament Organiser
 I would like to : Accept the entry of teams into a tournament
 So that : I know which teams are competing in a tournament
Title : Assign Tournament Venues
 As a : Tournament Organiser
 I would like to : Assign venues to a tournament
 So that : I know where tournament fixtures may be played
Title : Assign Players to Tournament Teams
 As a : Tournament Organiser
 I would like to : assign players to a team 
 So that : I know which players are playing for which team in a tournament
Title : Override Tournament Fixture Results
 As a : Tournament Organiser
 I would like to : override results of fixtures
 So that : I can account for exceptional circumstances
Title : Teams remaining in a tournament
 As a : Tournament Organiser
 I would like to : identify the teams still in a knock-out tournament
 so that : I know which teams will be in the draw for the next round
Title : Future fixtures
 As a : Tournament Organiser
 I would like to : add tournament fixtures even when the teams are not known
 So that : I can anticipate which future fixtures are required for the tournament to be completed.

Record keeper stories

As a : Record Keeper
 I would like to : record details of a fixture 
 so that : I can see what happened during a match
As a : Record Keeper
 I would like to : view a league table based on results so far
 So that : I know how teams are performing relative to each other in a League or round-robin tournament
As a : Record Keeper
 I would like to : record which team won and which teams were placed in a competition
 so that : I can maintain a Roll of Honour

Whilst this is all a bit rough-and-ready, it does give us a backlog to start working from.

Project Management Software

Now, how best to track our progress ? At this point, I did start to wonder whether I could throw together a quick application as installing Jira was likely to take time and incur cost that I didn’t really have on this project.

Fortunately, Altassian saved me the bother as they provide a free Jira cloud account.

Consequently, my backlog is now just waiting for Sprint 1 to start, which will be the subject of my next post on this topic.

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