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Agile Manifesto and Agile Doctrine, Part 1

In this series of posts I will describe how the agile doctrine [1] relates to the agile manifesto [2]... For example, "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools": The frequent interaction of developers, testers, product owners and customers will reduce the distance between problems and problem solvers.

"Agile Doctrine", as defined by Jason Yip, is:

  • Reduce the distance between problems and problem-solvers
  • Validate every step
  • Take smaller steps
  • Improve as you go

In this post, I will cover the first point:

Reduce the distance between problems and problem-solvers

Reducing the distance does not necessarily mean physical distance, even though it might. But what we really need to reduce here is intermediaries. Can the development team communicate directly with users? If not, how many steps are in between? Is there somebody who translates the users' requirements, so developers can understand them? Are there any business rules that are hard to grasp for developers? And so on.

Relation to the agile values

"Individuals and interactions over processes and tools" Reducing the distance between problems and problem solvers means that individuals (developers, users who have a problem) have to interact with each other. On the other hand, processes and tools (written documents, intermediaries, ...) will increase the distance between problems and problem solvers.

"Working software over comprehensive documentation" Reducing the distance between problems and problem solvers will be easier if the measure of progress is working software: Working software makes it easier to discuss whether the problem was really solved. It also makes it easier to discuss the next problem that needs to be solved.

"Customer collaboration over contract negotiation" Here we have the most direct relationship: Contracts would increase the distance, collaboration reduces it.

"Responding to change over following a plan" I don't see a real relationship here. We can respond to change even if there is some distance. OTOH, reducing the distance probably means we can not strictly follow a plan.

In closing

The first part of the "Agile Doctrine", "Reducing the distance between problems and problems solvers", relates well to the four values from the agile manifesto. In the next post from this series, we will look at the second part, "Validate every step", and how it relates to those four values.

[1] What is agile doctrine?
[2] Agile Manifesto

My name is David Tanzer and I have been working as an independent software consultant since 2006. I help my clients to develop software right and to develop the right software by providing training, coaching and consultanting for teams and individuals.

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