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I Can't Get No Satisfaction: Ramblings on the First Agile Principle

Mick Jagger in red

This is part of a series of ramblings on the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto, reposted with permission from Incremental Me.

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

In software development…

  • In order to satisfy the customer you have to truly understand what the customer needs.
    • Sometimes what a customer wants is very different than what a customer needs.
    • Keep asking “Why? Why? Why?”
    • This requires the customer to be very much engaged in what is happening.  They need to be able to express whether or not they are satisfied in real-time.
  • Early and continuous delivery of valuable software is pretty difficult to do.
    • What is “early”?  Perhaps “incremental” is more appropriate.  I’m assuming this wasn’t intended to be “early” in the traditional, calendar-time based meaning.
    • Continuous delivery == constantly changing, hopefully for the better.
    • There is no such thing as “scope creep” in Agile!
    • It is of value if it satisfies the customer, therefore the customer must determine what “valuable” means.
    • But… If delivery is continuous, when are we “done”?  Perhaps never.  Satisfaction is a tricky beast.

In life…

  • In order to be satisfied, you must actually understand what you really need to be happy.
    • What you want is not necessarily what you need.
    • Perhaps in order to get at the core of what you really need, you have to ask myself “Why do you want X?”
    • You can’t “check-out”.  In order for this to work you need to be present and engaged in your life and incrementally improving it.
  • You also need to start NOW and continuously deliver on those needs in the form of changes for the better.
    • “Working software” in life is a means by which the need is satisfied.  This could be anything from eating well, getting enough rest, to treating yourself with the same kindness and respect you give your friends.
    • The key is to first really understand what your needs are — what will it take to be satisfied?
    • And finally, admitting that you am a work-in-progress.  There is no “done”.
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