A lot of people think Agile is about working faster, but that really isn’t right. It would be more accurate – and perhaps alleviate many of the arguments against agile practices – if we thought of agile as being about working slower because we’re being more deliberate. BUT, at the same time getting rid of all the crap that doesn’t add value, so that we do, indeed, end up delivering more functionality in a shorter period of time.
I like to think of Agile as the Just Do It methodology. In software development, we’re really great at this thing called “yak shaving.” If you’re not familiar with the term then take a moment to read: So There I Am, Shaving a Yak…. Go ahead, I’ll wait. It’s really funny, I promise.
“So there I was at the zoo, shaving a yak, all so I could take a few pictures of my dogs at the park.” – Bill Gaiennie
A really huge part of yak shaving – at least for me – is trying to figure everything out so that I can make sure I’m going about things the right way. Oh boy, I can plan and research and do proof of concepts like nobody’s business. But at the end of the day, I’ve got a bunch of “stuff” with no actual working software for the app I’m supposed to be building.
Agile instead says “You’re never going to know everything about the app until it’s already been written. Cope.” and instead gives us tools to continue to move forward by focusing on what we do know. And then, a funny thing happens. The more of the application that we build, the more we learn. And so, we’re able to move forward, not by focusing our time on what we don’t know, but rather by focusing on what we do know and building actual value out of it.