My Understandings of Agile Over Time

This post is a short summary of my understanding of Agile over the past several years:

  1. "I don't need to learn Agile. I just need to write code."

    This is my thought when I first learned the concept of Agile in my college.

    It turns out to be really wrong.

  2. "Agile is just shorter waterfalls."

    Jon Kern on Twitter: "Start with doing waterfall in really short timeframes.… "

  3. "Agile is to do things in smaller steps and to gather feedback as much as possible."

    • Courage
      1. Take small steps
      2. Get feedback
      3. Refine
      4. Repeat

    -- from GOTO 2015 • Agile is Dead • Pragmatic Dave Thomas - YouTube

  4. "Agile is to validate your actions before you take them."

    • Design
      • What makes agile and waterfall different
        1. Iteration length
        2. If you make the iteration short enough, behavior has to change
      • Design is just a fancy word for organize
        1. I don't know which part I need to change (Design)
        2. I don't know if I did it correctly (Test)
      • The reason for agile software development: Cash in my pocket sooner
      • Reverse the order and repeat

        Investment -> Requirement -> Analysis -> Design -> Coding -> Testing -> Operations
        Operations -> Testing -> Coding -> Design -> Analysis -> Requirement -> Investment
    • Almost every problem boils down to long feedback cycles (two people don't like to talk to each other)
      • Cut it in half
        • It's already hard enough to change the way you work
        • It's challenging enough that make you energized enough to work on it
      • Repeat when half the length feels long again

    -- from DevTernity 2018: J.B. Rainsberger - The Economics of Software Design

  5. "You can always be more Agile." ("Agile is not a noun, it's an adjective.")

    Agile is about Change.

    • Takeaway message
      • Agility is a journey
      • Always inspect and adapt the process
      • It is a continuous investment
      • Don't be afraid, there is hope
    • The heart of being agile
      • Growth mindset
      • Inspect and adapt
      • Flexibility

    -- from GOTO 2018 • Polyglot Agile • Aino Vonge Corry - YouTube

    • That being said, "doing Agile" (Agile as a noun) is still important

        • The practices are needed to help understand the principles
        • The principles are needed to help guide towards new or stronger practices
        • "The activities (practices) are what you do. The values are how you decide if you are doing it right."
        • In situations where I don't quite know what to do, I fall back on the practices, trusting that they will carry me forward until I figure out which way to go.

      -- from Embrace 'Doing Agile'

As it was said in the last point, I can always be more agile as well. And I think this summary is also a great reflect on this point.

Hope you can also learn more about "Agile" from these great talks and articles, or share your experiences with "Agile" in the comments below.