Here’s a little tweetstorm_ written out longhand. I was thinking of adding some summing up at the end but having reread it, I’ve decided to let it stand alone.
So, Sprints, Iterations, Cadences, Continuous Flow. Planning sessions, daily scrums, retrospectives, increment reviews.
Are these all, in the end, overhead to be eliminated along the way to some Agile Nirvana?
Maybe, but not for me and maybe not for you.
If plans are nothing but planning is everything, as DWE is said to have said, there’s value to looking forward a bit and trying to scope out what to do.
If learning from our past is valuable, there’s value to looking back a bit and trying to scope out how to improve.
If we have stakeholders outside our room, and most of us have, there’s value to keeping them up to date on what we’re doing and what we plan.
At the same time, there are some natural, and habitual cycles to be aware of.
Days are those 24-hour bits with the dark/light thing happening. (In most places.)
Weeks are those 7-day things that most cultures use to decide when to go out for pizza or wash the deck.
Months are those weird intervals that people use to decide when to buy candy for the loved one, or presents for the kids.
All these intervals are part of the rhythm of our lives, for better or worse.
There is a sense in which there could be value to using these intervals for our valued elements of planning, retrospecting, ad reviewing.
We could meet briefly daily to see how we’re doing, whether anyone needs help, or to decide where lunch will be.
We could meet at the beginning of the week to set some direction, align our goals, decide what’s important.
We could meet every week or two to take a step back and look at how we’re doing overall, even if we’ve been deep into it all the time.
We could meet every two weeks or every month with our stakeholders or customers, to show them what we’ve done, and get their feedback on how they like it and what they’d like us to do in the upcoming days.
So the cadences could help us with our planning, retrospecting, and product reviews.
That might be worth considering.
But what if we’re all in the room or the garage or wherever we do this stuff that we do? Then are these activities all overhead, to be eliminated?
Suppose it’s true that all our users, money suppliers, all our stakeholders really in the garage with us. We’re mob programming. Everyone knows everything all the time.
Well, I don’t know about you and your garage. I know that I find value in occasionally looking up from the day to day flow of items, to the bigger picture. It’s good to look at my income and expenses at intervals, and to check in with my wife to see if she remembers me.
Now, we’re in the garage, so we could do planning when we feel like it, review our larger progress and set direction when we feel like it, consider a larger-scale look at our practices when we feel like it.
And that might work just fine. It might be the ideal place to be.
But I don’t think I’d recommend that. I think I’d suggest setting a time, daily or weekly or bi-weekly or monthly, to at least pause and ask “should we do a bit of planning or just keep heads down”.
YMMV, but I need and appreciate a little nudge to look at the larger scale.