Agile Principles Series – 9 of 12: Elevating Agility Through Technical Excellence & Design

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With an objective to enable continuous learning and progression for our learners, PremierAgile curated several learning articles in the areas of Agile, Scrum, Product Ownership, Scaling, Agile Leadership, Tools & Frameworks, latest market trends, new innovations etc...

Agile Principles Series – 9 of 12: Elevating Agility Through Technical Excellence & Design

Agile Principles Series – 9 of 12: Elevating Agility Through Technical Excellence & Design

Did you complete your learning about the 8th principle of the Agile Manifesto? Now, we will take a closer look at the 9th Agile Principle, which states:

“Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.”

So what does that mean? In the context of software development, the 9th Agile Principle asserts why it’s crucial to pay continuous attention to the technical design for Agile excellence. This principle emphasizes that Agile teams should not solely focus on Feature Development but also prioritize delivering high-quality Product Releases. 

Today, we will explore the significance of the 9th Agile Principle and how Agile teams, especially those using the Scrum framework, can achieve agility through technical excellence!

What Is Technical Excellence In Agile?

Technical excellence in Agile refers to consistently applying best practices and high standards throughout software development. It involves meticulous code craftsmanship with regular code reviews and adherence to security standards for delivering an excellent-quality product. By prioritizing technical excellence, Agile teams ensure the creation of maintainable code that exceeds customer expectations. This approach fosters a quality culture by preventing technical debt accumulation and promoting sustainable development practices.

The Importance of Technical Excellence in Agile:

Agile frameworks, including Scrum, emphasize iterative development and continuous improvement. The 9th Agile Principle underscores the need for Agile teams to pay continuous attention to technical excellence and good design. Here's why it matters:

1. Preventing Technical Debt Accumulation:

Addressing existing technical debt and preventing its accumulation is crucial. The article highlights the analogy of developers removing technical debt as if removing walls pictured on a flight of stairs. Each step symbolizes an increment of functionality delivered, illustrating the importance of addressing technical debt to ensure a smooth ascent in product development.

2. Collaboration with Product Owner:

Agile teams using the Scrum framework collaborate with the Product Owner to include items in the Product Backlog that contribute to increased product quality. This collaboration ensures that technical excellence is part of the overall product development strategy rather than an afterthought.

3. Definition of Done (DoD):

Creating a Definition of Done is a best practice to prevent the accidental accumulation of technical debt. The DoD outlines the criteria that must be met for a product backlog item to be considered complete. This could include regular code reviews, adherence to security standards, and other measures to ensure technical excellence.

The Role of Scrum in Ensuring Technical Excellence:

As an Agile framework, Scrum is pivotal in promoting technical excellence within development teams. Here's how Scrum contributes to achieving this principle:

  • Sprint Backlog and Incremental Delivery:

The Sprint Backlog, a subset of the Product Backlog, contains tasks selected for a specific sprint. By working on these tasks incrementally, Agile teams ensure continuous attention to technical excellence in every sprint, contributing to the overall product quality.

  • Certified Scrum Master and Product Owner Roles:

Certified Scrum Masters guide and facilitate the Scrum way of working while a Certified Scrum Product Owner maximize the value of the work. Their expertise ensures that technical excellence is maintained throughout the development lifecycle.

  • Agile Training & Workshops:

Organizations can leverage resources like Scrum Alliance and PremierAgile for Agile and Scrum training, workshops, and coaching. These platforms empower teams to adopt best practices, fostering technical excellence.

Benefits of Continuous Attention to Technical Excellence:

Let’s continue with the advantages Technical Excellence brings to Agile Teams. The 9th Agile Principle advocates for the continuous pursuit of technical excellence, and the benefits are substantial:

  • Enhanced Product Quality:

Prioritizing technical excellence results in high-quality products. By adhering to best practices, Agile teams reduce defects, improve code maintainability, and ensure that the end product meets or exceeds customer expectations.

  • Increased Agility:

Addressing technical debt and maintaining technical excellence allows Agile teams to respond to changing requirements more efficiently. This increased adaptability is a hallmark of agility, enabling teams to pivot swiftly in response to customer feedback or market shifts.

  • Long-Term Viability:

Technical excellence is not just about the present; it ensures the product's long-term viability. Agile teams lay the foundation for sustainable development and continuous delivery by avoiding the pitfalls of poor design and technical debt.

Key Takeaways From The 9th Agile Principle:

The 9th principle in Agile principles is perfect for guiding Agile teams towards continuous attention to technical excellence and good design. Whether you're an Agile Beginner or an Agile Leader, you must follow the core concept of this principle to achieve Agility. It's not just about writing code; it's about creating a foundation of excellence that propels your team toward successful software development. So, embrace Agile with a primary focus on technical excellence and a great design roadmap!

Stay tuned for the upcoming blog on the 10th Agile Principle as we continue.

Reference:

https://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/how-12-principles-agile-manifesto-work-real-life


Author

Paula

Is a passionate learner and blogger on Agile, Scrum and Scaling areas. She has been following and practicing these areas for several years and now converting those experiences into useful articles for your continuous learning.