Happy 111111! I’m working on a BIG AGILE post discussing the “interlock dilemma” that challenges big companies (like my employer Dell) as we become more lean in our development approaches. That thought exercise turned up an analogy that is worth sharing.
We use sprints like we are driving on a long road trip. As we travel, we want to stop at regular intervals to:
- make sure we’re still going in the right direction (check the map)
- see if we’re going to fast (overheating the engine)
- see if we need to go faster (storms behind us)
- avoid traffic (market is congested)
- linger if there’s something interesting around (customers?!)
- abandon the whole trip (kids are fighting in the back seat)
- change our destination (saw a cool billboard)
- pick-up a hitch hiker (partnering)
It just does not make sense to drive forward blindly hoping everything works out. We need to inject decision points into our journey so that we take the right path. And we have to remember, the right path is rarely that exact one that we started on!
If your product journey is predictable enough to navigate without frequent checks then your problem is not unique enough to generate much value.
I’ve found more and more, that sprints are merely a way to add “speed bumps” and sometimes even “road blocks” to providing an even more functionally capable team.
But alas, even the clarity of sprints is preferred over the prodding idiocy of Waterfall. At least that’s generally dead. 🙂
Thats where staying ship ready comes in.
I think Agile and Waterfall can complement each other, one does not kill the other, and to many, Agile is just a set of best practices that is built over Waterfall.
You still have to plan in an Agile project, but planning is different.