Agile vs Fragile: Deliver Small Wins Faster

Part 5 in a series of 17. To start at the beginning, first read Agile vs Fragile: A Disciplined Approach or an Excuse for Chaos.

Principle three of the Agile principles is all about speed to value. What this principle tries to accomplish is to find the fastest way possible to get value into the hands of the customer.  This assumes several things.  First, you are adding value and not limiting value.  Second, it assumes that the faster I can get value into the hands of the business the faster they can bring in revenue. And third, it assumes that what I deliver is the value the customer asked for. I have witnessed Agile teams where the development team decides what the customer is going to get and when.  It usually has the “development knows best” stink about it.  In far too many IT shops, large and small, IT has hijacked the responsibility of the business to set vision.  IT is all too happy to set the mobile strategy for the product because, after all, they know the iOS better than the business.  In a true Agile shop, the business is fully embedded into the team and drives the value delivery chain for the product.  The agile team takes their role seriously and ensures that development has a lot of freedom within a set of defined boundaries.

Another of the underlying themes of this agile principle is quality.  While quality isn’t explicitly called out in this principle, you can’t have value without quality. They are mutually inclusive.Deliver Small Wins FasterJust like a bunch of small wins delivered faster results in a successful project, delivering small failures faster results in an unsuccessful project.  The fact that you can quickly deliver poor software adds no value to the customer and only helps to more quickly destabilize the project.  As I have said many times in the past…the customer will tell you they want it right now…and they do…they just don’t want it wrong now! Another way to put it is, it doesn’t matter how fast you get to crap.

In the next installment of the blog we will talk about the 4th 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.