Agile Efficiency (is an Oxymoron)

Episode 54 - 21 Sep 2016

Is Agile efficient?

No, it isn't.

And That's A Good Thing.

Taking Minimum Viable Products for an example: creating all those intermediate "MVPs" is a ton of work.

It would be more EFFICIENT to go straight to the final product.

That would avoid a pile of work.

Alas, it would also avoid a pile of LEARNING.

And without learning, we're bound to build the wrong thing.

Customers won't buy the wrong thing :(

You can find out more about Henrik Kniberg's illustration in this article.

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Do you know this picture?

We looked at it back in Episode 34.

It's Henrik Kniberg's illustration of how to - and how not to - create a Minimum Viable Product.

The creation of a whole series of Minimum Viable Products

  • a skateboard
  • a scooter
  • a bicycle
  • a motorbike

is the very opposite of efficiency.

It's a journey full of detours and dead ends and u-turns.

Efficiency would be... going directly to the final step: going directly to building the car.

That would avoid a whole pile of work.

That would also avoid a whole pile of LEARNING.

Learning about what the customer really wants.

And without the learning, we're sure to build the wrong car.

Customers won't buy the wrong car.

Am I saying that efficiency has no place in Agile?

Not exactly.

I'm all for:

  • more efficient stand ups
  • more efficient planning sessions
  • more efficient retrospectives
  • more efficient deployment processes
  • more efficient ...

You get the idea.

That's all good.

But when it comes to the software. When it comes to the the product

Remember it's not about being efficient. It's about being effective.

As we've said many times before, it's not about doing the thing right.

It's about doing the right thing.

Watch "Agile Efficiency (is an Oxymoron)" on YouTube.