Agile Principles vs. Agile Practices

When people see a successful Agile team, the first thing they start looking at is all the practices the team is doing. They notice the daily stand ups, iteration reviews, test driven development, continuous integration, etc. Then they try to go replicate the success by copying all the practices they see being done. The problem with this is that for the practices to really be effective, they need to grow out of the Agile principles.

Continuous delivery of software by itself is of less value than when the practice grows naturally out of trying to follow this principle:

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Enforcing a 40-hour work week is a whole lot different than trying to follow this principle:

Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

You can’t just blindly emulate a few practices that are working for others. Without understanding the principles of Agile, you will miss the fountain necessary to adapt different practices to suit the special things that make your team unique. Most of the benefit of Agile comes from its ability to help teams work effectively and efficiently regardless of all the differences.

Published by

Mark Shead

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