Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Sun, 19 Sep 2004

Thoughts on Andy Schneider's comments

(Andy Schneider commented on my post on cybernetics and Agile methods. I've finally gotten a spare moment to respond.

Andy's right that agile teams are too often inward-looking. But I don't think that's a reason to avoid using the team as a unit of analysis. One way to talk about a system is to find useful components and look at their interactions. (That's not to say that the team is the only useful unit of analysis; it might well be instructive to slice things along a different dimension.)

I agree with Andy that Agile teams err when they think the only feedback that matters is instructions coming in and software going out. That's one of the reasons why I was so taken with Pickering's descriptions of devices reaching out, actively exploring their environments, and adapting to them. I think that's what Andy wants, and I'm suggesting cybernetics might have learned something we can steal.

I wasn't at all clear in my description of "teams succeeding in their own terms." By that, I meant to suggest that the team is delivering what some representative of the business said was business value, but that either the representative was wrong or someone with more power wasn't interested in that business value. So the project gets canned because it wasn't adapted to its real environment, only to an economic fairy tale: the corporation run by profit-maximizing economic actors.

## Posted at 16:59 in category /agile [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
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