Can you get your software to market faster by following agile software development principles from Scrum, XP, Kanban or Lean? That’s a complex question that generates controversy no matter how I answer it. I’m okay with controversy so my answer is yes — if you give the team time to mature.
Regardless of what you do or how you do it, doing it faster is often a good idea. The logic applies to any endeavor. Going faster can make you better — just don’t go so fast that you lose control. Here’s why you should go faster.
1. Faster highlights weaknesses in the current process.
When you have to go faster, you’ll question the process you’re being asked to follow. You’ll want to know why tasks are being done in particular ways. Hey, you’ll want to know why some tasks are being at all!
2. Faster exposes bottlenecks.
This is a Kanban principle, right? Minimize work-in-progress. Work will quickly pile up behind people and workflows that can’t keep up. This will force the team to take corrective action to empty the queues.
3. Faster tests the team’s skill levels.
Those who are good at what they do will rise to the challenge. They’ll find ways to work smarter and get more done in less time. Those that aren’t so good, will fall behind.
4. Faster forces focus.
The best way to get more done in less time is to focus. Eliminate the distractions and the busy work. Concentrate on the really important stuff and get it done. You can go back and fill out the paperwork later.
5. Faster makes you think.
The team will question everything in a tireless search for better performance — processes, roles, tools, features and rules are all fair game. Going faster means no sacred cows.
Faster Doesn’t Mean Risky
Senior managers often create a sense of urgency around corporate initiatives. They deliberately stress their organizations and observe how they react. The stress highlights bureaucratic bottlenecks and often generates new ideas and better team performance.
Try going faster. Some will argue that more mistakes will occur. So what? Fix the mistakes and keep improving. You’ll likely still be ahead of where you would have been had you gone more slowly.
Be smart. Take prudent risks. If something gets seriously messed up, stop and evaluate. Maybe you pushed the accelerator too hard. You may need to slow down a little — but only temporarily. Faster business is better business. Give it a try.
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