Some Agile Principles

Let’s discuss some agile principles.

I often say the dance steps will be ugly if you don’t feel the music.

There is a heated discussion now about the principles that underlie Scrum. I hope no one hurts himself.  By which I mean, in jest, that we often have the biggest fights about abstract things. On these abstract things we tend to disagree. Concrete facts that all can see with their own eyes are harder to argue about.

Here are some principles I see at play in Lean-Agile and in Scrum. Part of the fun of putting this list out there is the hope and expectation that you will discover better ways of expressing these, or other, principles at work. My list was done hastily, so you are welcome to comment.

A quick list….

  1. Don’t get distracted and waste time trying to do five things — do one thing until it is done, then do the next thing.
  2. All work-in-process is waste (and we want to eliminate as much of it as we can possibly imagine).  — Taiichi Ohno
  3. Two heads are better than one; three are better than two.
  4. With our knowledge work, the productivity of the individual is fairly meaningless (no individual alone can produce the product); the productivity of a small team is meaningful.
  5. Bad news does not get better with age.
  6. Truth and love are the true foundation.
  7. How hard we work is not important; what is important is making a few peoples’ lives better.
  8. We have failures in communication all the time; the problem is to identify the biggest ones as fast as possible and correct them quickly.
  9. The best way to communicate about this very abstract work is to make it as concrete as possible, then get full and direct feedback.
  10. In theory there is no difference between theory and practice — in practice there is. (Yogi Berra)  One Meaning: In our minds, all our ideas seem to work. In practice, we all see many mistakes and problems.
  11. Knowledge creation is what it’s all about. — Cf Takeuchi and Nonaka.
  12. Fujio Cho said, “There are many things one doesn’t understand, and therefore we ask, ‘Why don’t you just go ahead and take action; try to do something?'”
  13. You learn fastest by small mistakes.
  14. Where there is no vision, the people perish. — Proverbs
  15. People are remarkably good at doing what they want to do. — Little’s Second Law
  16. I know it when I see it. — Justice Potter Stewart
  17. How does a project get one year late? One day at a time. — Frederick Brooks
  18. You don’t need to motivate them. You need to get the de-motivators out of the way.
  19. People work best when allowed to make small promises.
  20. Don’t over-stress the system (the team).
  21. Because business and technology decisions are inter-dependent, business people and technologists must work together daily.
  22. There will never come a day when there are no impediments. We can always improve. We must work on the biggest impediment each day.
  23. Samuel Johnson said, “Depend upon it sir; the prospect of being hanged in a fortnight concentrates the mind wonderfully.”
  24. “It is difficult to predict, especially the future.” Niels Bohr
  25. We are organic, transient animals. We are not machines nor are we constructs of the mind.
  26. There is a lot of variation among and between individuals. Perhaps even more between teams.
  27. Alexander Pope said man is “a being darkly wise and rudely great.” Of a mixed nature. None of us will be perfect soon.
  28. Micro-managing workers never helps. A bit of coaching might help some.
  29. Pretending to be more productive by lowering quality is just pretending.

Do you find these principles useful?

Your comments please.

 

 

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