The 12 Days of Agile Principles! Principle #8

Say deadline to me one more time

Welcome to Day 8 of 12 Days of Agile Principles!

Agile processes promote sustainable development.  The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely


Good morning, if you’ve just woken up on your keyboard with drool on your cheek and the dregs of yesterday’s coffee cup cold and bitter beside you, I’m going to guess that’s a pace of work that you can’t sustain indefinitely!


Agile processes are designed to run at a highly productive pace, but at a pace that’s sustainable indefinitely.  The team works together every day, using the rhythmic nature of iterations and regular events, to constantly be producing the Working Software we heard about in Principle #7.  Since we use one of those events - Retrospectives - to improve our processes all the time, the team becomes a high performing unit together.  This is why we love ‘long lived teams’ where the majority of the people stay together the majority of the time. We choose to optimise the output of a team, over optimising the utilisation of any 1 person. 


Hang on a minute, does sustainable pace imply the team will just cruise? Are agile teams allergic to deadlines? Ha Ha!, no of course not, but we value many things that make development sustainable, such as engineering practices to make the code-base of good quality and automation to allow us to move quickly without the fear of breaking things.  


There are, however,  times where we will want to ‘push' to make a deadline or to get something ready for a showcase, that’s just natural because we are highly engaged (Principle #5) and eager to show off our work!  But we don’t want to get to the state were we are zombies living at our desks and making costly errors in the software we are building.  That’s a false economy, it’s guaranteed you'll pay for those defects and poor design decisions that come from a weary and pressured mind one day, either in system failure or in the cost to maintain or extend the software. 

Tune in again for Agile Principle #9 or join the conversation at @TheRebootCo