The final principle of the Agile Manifesto directs us to reflect on a project.  We follow those eleven principles and then evaluate how we did so we can become more effective.  This recommendation should not be a surprise.  We can only improve when we examine how we did on a task.  However, this principle points to the entire team taking that step.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
its behavior accordingly.

The Agile Goal is to Become More Effective

We started the twelve principles with a focus on satisfying the customer.  This focus is our “why” for building software.  This final principle presents us with a “why” for using the Agile approach.  We accept that we are not perfect.  Improvement is always possible and should be pursued.  Therefore, we should have regular intervals of reflection to build our list of adjustments.

Regular, Not Random

When we schedule a review and a time frame to create some change, we create accountability.  It is easy to pass on work needed when there is no deadline or at least not one defined.  An irregular approach to reviews makes it hard to create habits or build momentum.  The pauses to review end up feeling like more of a distraction than productive investment.  Thus, we need to integrate these reviews into our plans and schedules.  When we do, expectations are set and then quickly graded as to whether they are met or not.

Get Better In Achievable Steps

The first time we do anything, we often make mistakes.  That is human nature.  We start with an idea of how to be productive.  However, there are always ways to do better the next time around.  This idea is the foundation of our “building better developers” focus.  We have a long journey of improvement ahead of us, and it is best to take it a step at a time.  The review of a project is similar.  We often will find a long list of improvements to make.  There is nothing wrong with that.  On the other hand, that list can be overwhelming.  Thus, we make adjustments and tune our process a bit at a time to keep our scope reasonable.

The Twelve Principles and Overall Manifesto

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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