Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Agile Principle 9: Technical Excellence

Let's take a look at the ninth underlying principle of the agile manifesto:
"Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility."
What does that really mean? What are the implications for our daily business? Let's analyze this principle and see where this gets us.
  • "Continuous attention" - Beware of routine in your daily business! Keep your concentration high, stay focused on the things you're working on. This also implies to take a break when you are not able to do so. Do not force yourself to go on if you're distracted and powerless.
    Values: Focus
    Principles: Opportunity, Accepted Responsibility, Reflection
    Practices: Motivation
  • "technical excellence" - Gather the right staff with the right skills to create the product. Cultivate life-long learning to acquire new knowledge and improve your skills.
    Values: Courage, Simplicity, Focus
    Principles: Reflective Improvement, Amplify Learning, Accepted Responsibility, Quality
    Practices: (agile) Testing, Sprint Retrospective, Motivation
  • "good design" - Don't create a product which looks nice outside but is a piece of crap inside. Follow a professional honor and build your software product in a way you could be proud of in every detail.
    Values: Simplicity
    Principles: Improvement, Quality, Baby Steps, Incremental
    Practices: Pair Programming, Test-Driven Development, Refactoring
  • "enhances agility" - If we do not have the right skills and the right attitude, we will get stuck in our agile journey. This is the reason why many teams do not proceed after their initial agile success.
    (An extreme situation of this principle is when people completely refuse the agile values at all. In this case the best way for both these people and the rest of the team is to break up.)
    Values: Openness, Courage
    Principles: Reflective Improvement
    Practices: Sprint Retrospective
To say it in two words, the ninth principle is about Technical Excellence.



Also read in this blog post series:

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