Agile in a Flash


This “book” is really a deck of 52 🙂 index cards with topics on one side and an explanation or further detail on the other side.  Many topics from the Pragmatic Programming series are summarized here.

Top 3 Things I learned
  • I like the Agile success factors.  A good way to assess the situation during project chartering in a risk assessment of where your problems will be in Agile development.
  • Acceptance Test Design principles.  I am increasingly interested in driving design by acceptance.
  • I really only found 2 things, but for ceremony and consistency and some tongue-in-cheek, I choose Bad Agile Smells.


Twelve Agile Guiding Principles — Everyone focuses on the 4 key tenets of Agile, but seems to miss these as well as the primary reason for doing Agile.

  1. Satisfy the customer through early, continuous delivery
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late
  3. Deliver working software frequently
  4. Businesspeople and developers collaborate daily
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals
  6. Convey info via face-to-face conversation
  7. Primary progress measure: working software
  8. Maintain a constant pace indefinitely
  9. Continuously demonstrate technical excellence
  10. Simplify: maximize the amount of work not done
  11. Self-organize
  12. Retrospect and tune behavior

Agile Roles:  Some interesting roles here

  • Customer: product definition
  • Programmer: Construct the product
  • Tester: Verifies product works as defined
  • Tracker: Gather and present metrics
  • Coach: Guide the team to success
  • Coordinator: Manage external communication

Agile Success Factors (Binary, must be present to win).  These become risks if you take on Agile without doing them

  • Freedom to change
  • Energized team
  • Communication with customer
  • Collaboration
  • Attention to quality
  • Incrementalism
  • Automation

Toyota Production System (TPS) Principles

  • Continuous Improvement
  • Respect for people
  • Long-term philosophy
  • Develop the right process <– this to me is key, implies that you have to look at each situation and think about the process for the situation and not take a previous process and make it fit the situation
  • Develop your people and partners
  • Continuously solve root problems.

The Right Process

  • Continuous process flow
  • Pull work to avoid overproduction
  • Work like the tortoise, not the hare
  • Stop to fix the problems
  • Standardize the tasks
  • Expose problems with visual control
  • Use only reliable technology that serves people and process

Reaching Consensus on Story Priority

  • Simple Triage Rule: pick your priority category (bugs, features, foundation, etc) and do all stories in it
  • Covey’s Quadrants: 2 x 2 matrix significance vs. urgency <– very similar to what I used on TDC
  • Value/Risk/Good first: max value by value first, or min risk by max risk first, max usefulness by max good
  • Fixed-length queue: Pick top items for immediate queue, then pick again
  • Bargain: More votes than stories, everybody votes, <– similar to a retro tech.
  • Alphabetical: arbitrary, but better than nothing

Acceptance Test Design Principles

  • Abstract << Write for non-techies
  • Bona Fide << Must exercise the system in a production-like environment
  • Cohesive << One goal, one test
  • Decoupled << Each test stands on its own
  • Expressive << test is readable as if it was documentation
  • Free of duplication <<
  • Green << automated tests must always pass

Shu (follow the rule) – Ha (break the rule) – Ri (there is no rule)

Bad Agile Smells

  • Individual work assignments (no pairing)
  • Piles of unfinished work
  • Work assignments given under the table
  • Empty ceremonies
  • Neglecting quality practices
  • Guarded Speech

Agile Programming Practices

  • Continuous Integration
  • Test Driven Development
  • Constant design improvement (Refactor)
  • Coding standard
  • Collective code ownership
  • Simple design
  • System metaphor
  • Pair programming

Seven Code Virtues

  • Working (as opposed to incomplete)
  • Unique, (not duplicated)
  • Simple, (not complicated)
  • Clear (not puzzling)
  • Easy  (not difficult)
  • Developed (not primitive)
  • Brief (not chatty)




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