The Agile Manifesto, which we created to uncover better ways of developing software, says,
We value Working Software over Documentation
And we do. We’d much rather have actual, real live, working software then reams of documentation proclaiming all the great stuff this as-of-yet-nonexistent software is going to do at some point in the future.
However, agile is also about learning and adapting. And 10 years after it’s creation, one of the manifesto’s creators — Kent Beck — is looking at what agile means for startups. In a startup, he says, there’s actually something we value more than working software.
We value Learning over Working Software
Agile helps us develop software as efficiently as possible – we can bang out quality code really fast with it. But what good does fast or quality do if you’re building a product that nobody wants?
Startups aren’t just small versions of large organizations. They’re about learning and discovery, not execution. All we’ve got are ideas (Kent calls these “almost impossibles”). And so we take these ideas and we think about how we might measure (or validate) whether people would be willing to pay for them. We might build software in order to validate our ideas, but working software is not our goal here. Our goal is learning.