Agile vs Fragile: Add Value to The Customer

This is part 3 in a series of 17. To start at the beginning, first read Agile vs Fragile: A Disciplined Approach or an Excuse for Chaos.

As I have studied and applied Agile practices within my testing teams, I have often referred to the twelve (12) Agile principles.  When you read these principles it is very difficult to find even the slightest bit of issue with them.  In fact, if the majority of teams (whether Agile or not) embraced these principles wholeheartedly, then a majority of projects would be successful.  The problem isn’t the principles.  The problem is the superficial way in which most teams implement to principles.

Let’s take a look at each of the 12 principles and identify the characteristics that a true Agile team would demonstrate, and the characteristics that a more Fragile team would demonstrate.

Principle 1: Add Value to The Customer

The first principle of Agile is to add value to the customer. The Agile principle puts it in terms of satisfaction; however, a better way to represent it is in the value that is added to the customer.  If you add value, the customer will be satisfied.  If you don’t add value, or even worse degrade value, then the customer won’t be satisfied.

Agile Principle 1

The key here is that in an Agile world, the focus is on the customer and adding value to that customer.  Unfortunately, in a Fragile world, the focus is on the project.  This perversion of the focus is more worried about making timelines and getting anything into production that imposes defective software onto the customer.  The customer is promised fixes in future releases. This is absolutely in conflict with the basic premise of the “valuable software” principle.  Defective software isn’t valuable.  While it may be functional, if it doesn’t perform to the customer’s expectations then the customer is forced to accept reduced value.

In the next installment of the blog we will talk about the 2nd Agile principle. In the meantime…Keep on testing!

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Brian Copeland

About Brian Copeland (19 articles)

With over 25 years of senior level experience in the software development industry specializing in organizational transformation and development, Brian has been instrumental in the testing of critical business systems, from mission critical applications to commercial software. Mr. Copeland’s career has included 10 years as the Test Operations Manager for the Titan II, 34D, IVA, and IVB programs, managing both flight and ground software-testing facilities for Lockheed Martin. Mr. Copeland also served as the Sr. Manager of Quality Assurance for the shared services of Deloitte & Touché, LLP. His diverse experiences range across the aerospace, medical device, title insurance, legal services software, big four accounting firm, and banking industries. Brian led the global testing organization for The Nielsen Company, overseeing the successful transformation of the testing function made up of over 750 testing associates. Mr. Copeland has been a key-note speaker at the International Business Forum, and has been a featured speaker at HP Software Universe. Brian is a past president of the greater Cincinnati International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA), and holds an ITIL v3.0 Foundations and RCV certifications.