Delivering Early and Often

April of #MyAgileYear is about delivering early and often, in small slices. The principle states: 

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

April is a lovely time of the year. Summer has finished in Australia after a longer period of warmth that extended well into March, and the cool breeze has returned after taking a holiday elsewhere. It’s a time of change. A new season marked by leaves changing colour and falling. Three months have suddenly gone by and this is the time of the year when our determination in the first week of January starts to wear off. For those playing #MyAgileYear at home, January’s commitment to keep things simple has started to pay off, as there is less clutter to get you down, physically and emotionally, and the things you have committed to are indeed the most important things, which means it will be easier to keep your commitment to them.

You will have made it through February, where we focused on meaningful interactions in everything we did, and discovered a few things about ourselves and others when we focused as much as possible on face to face communication. Did you spend less time in front of a screen? Lisa Callinan’s article on how to really relax was a big eye opener for me. I love to sit on the couch, browse social media, comment like, download anything from images of cats to videos and recipes. It feels meaningful and sneakily productive. What I didn’t realise until I read that article was that I wasn’t truly relaxing, which means I wasn’t getting the downtime my body and mind were craving. This made my personal interactions harder, and ultimately made it harder to simplify. It was helpful to have a focus for the months so far, as even though there’s other things being worked on in the background, a focus helps remind us of what’s important right now.

March was a bit of a step change, and focused on motivation. I focused on what motivated me, and how it differed to others. Dan Pink’s research in this area is second to none, as well as Jurgen Apello’s chapter in his book Management 3.0 about team energy. How are you motivated? Were you able to pinpoint the differences in how you are motivated as opposed to others?

April brings a new focus. This principle talks about delivering value to the customer early. And we are indeed in the business of delivering value. 

What does this mean for us?

Delivering Early = Sharing our Work

What have you got working in the background that you could share with others? I often hear colleagues and friends reluctant to share their work until it is perfect. I once had a colleague refuse to send me the pack he was working on as it ‘wasn’t finished’. The problem was we needed to co-create something. Not sharing opened us up to the risk of doubling up on work effort.  One of the things Derek Sivers talks about in his book Anything you Want is the importance of sharing your work often. In fact many successful business people talk to the importance of writing, and also sharing. Seth Godin shares a blog every day. This has been a tough one for me. I write every day without fail, and review my content regularly, picking out the bits I want to share. But even after years of writing a blog, I tend to err towards not sharing than sharing. I find myself wondering if what I have written is good enough, or people will hate it, leading to me choosing to keep it squirreled away in drafts.

So for me, this month of delivering value early is about sharing my work more, not being afraid to share my thoughts, and more importantly, being okay with 80/20. Seeking perfection is simply an excuse for being lazy and delivering nothing. That person who talks about how being a perfectionist is something to be proud of? It’s not. It means you’re lazy and are getting away with doing nothing. April of #MyAgileYear is about no excuses and just get on with it. I’m going with imperfect implementation, with the view that I would rather deliver something that could be improved upon than nothing at all.

How about you? How can you embrace the concept of delivering early and often? What value might you be leaving on the table if you don’t share your work? How else could you embrace this principle to live #MyAgileYear? I’m looking forward to you sharing! 



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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.