Thomas Sundberg

March 2, 2013

Embrace change or embrace uncertainty

Filed under: Agile, XP — Tags: , , , , , — Thomas Sundberg @ 11:27

Kent Beck wrote a very nice book eXtreme programming explained with the subtitle “Embrace change”. But what he really want to embrace is uncertainty. What is uncertainty? It is those things that will happen but you are uncertain of. Possibly so uncertain that you haven’t even thought about them in a risk analysis. It is the very nature of uncertain things, you don’t think they ever will occur and can therefore not even think they might happen. They will therefore never turn up in a risk analysis.

This is what Agile and XP is all about. Handling uncertainty. Instead of taking long leaps, you frequently stop, inspect and adapt. You always tries to have the shortest possible feedback loop. You deliver working software and evaluate if it brings the values you expected it would bring. Then decide what to deliver next.

Inspecting and adapting doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think and try to come up with reasonable risks that you want to prepare for. But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that you should stop and think forever about the risks and never deliver anything.

So embrace the uncertainty and make sure that the way you work support you as much as possible.

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1 Comment »

  1. Fully agree.

    In discussions on Agile, change is often limited to responsiveness to new (late) requirements.

    But most of the change I experience, is our *change in understanding*. While we explore and build, we understand more of what we are doing (e.g. the technology we use) and more on what is valueable (e.g. does this feature helps you?)
    The initial uncertainties does not just evaporate when time passes. We reduce the uncertainty by building something working based on our best assumptions, prove whether this flies, experiment, observe and adapt. This is active learning process.

    We embrace learning.

    Comment by Jan De Wael — March 7, 2013 @ 16:13


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