Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Fri, 14 May 2004

When is an agile team working up to its potential?

While writing the trip report for last week's client visit, I ended up thinking about how an external observer would know that a team had made it to the fabled Land of Agility. What would you look for?

Here's the list I put together. I welcome corrections and additions from those with better insight.

  • People are pleasantly tired at the end of the day. The mental feeling should be like the physical feeling of finishing a long hike: you've really worked, but it feels good, it's an accomplishment. People should not feel unchallenged or frustrated or overworked.

  • There's a lot of chatter around, and it's focused on the work, the product, and the craft (rather than, say, company gossip).

  • Learning is happening extremely fast - and as an inseparable part of getting the job done.

  • People are optimistic about difficulties. For example, if unit tests are slowing the team down, there's no resignation to an ugly reality. Instead, someone is doing something about it.

  • People are comfortable and proficient at proceeding in small steps. For example, consider a big mess of legacy code. An ideal agile team would be able to clean it up a bit at a time, with each bit tied to some story that delivers business value. A team that wasn't there yet would feel the need to rewrite in one big gulp.

  • The whole team is monomaniacal about business value and pleasing the customer.

My reaction on rereading this is that only the last two have anything particular to do with agility per se. I think that's OK.

## Posted at 14:14 in category /agile [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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