Valuing Working Software OVER Comprehensive Documentation 
 
This month, we move to part 2 of our 4-part agile value miniseries. How can transformational middle managers enable Working software OVER comprehensive documentation?

As a manager, your job is to pave a smooth and gentle path for your team. Excessive documentation is a huge barrier to success, especially when it provides ZERO value to the customer! Here are 3 ways you can demonstrate the power of working software OVER documentation:
 

  • Create partnerships. Work with groups who require documentation (audit, security, PMO) to understand their needs. Help them understand how your teams operate. Work together to streamline and produce valuable documentation.
     
  • Align metrics. Metrics like number of defects opened (for testers) or number of defects closed (for developers) are counter-productive to the overall goal. ALL team members should have the same goal: produce valuable working software. Metrics should align with this goal in a way that increases cooperation, efficiency and value to the customer.
     
  • Modify status reports. Work with stakeholders, project managers, etc. to remove status reports focused on % complete. Working software is either done or not done--there is no 50% or 75% in agile! Instead report on the amount of business value delivered in the form of working software.

The manifesto does not give you permission to eliminate all paperwork, but encourages you to question the value, level of detail, and format of every "required" document. 

Next month: How do managers enable Customer Collaboration OVER contract negotiation?
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