The Agile Approach

The Agile Approach

Postby Dave Z » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:12 am

The Agile Approach can be applied to most any project, and has had great success in accelerating output. My guess is it would be very useful for the tinker phase of reboot.

Manifesto for Agile (Software) Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

Or, another version (quick and dirty?)... in this set, 'cheap' is 'no frills', and 'make right' means to 'fine tune':

Agile Principles:

Make it Cheap
Make it Fast
Make it Work
Make it Right


While this approach was conceived for software development, it has been adapted to hands-on, creative development.

Some related links:

  1. My write up on the concept, oriented for boatbuilding:

  2. Jeremy Ulsted's article, in which he proposes the 'quick and dirty version':

  3. Video of our 'innovative' (read 'Lots of Untried Ideas) boat project, using Agile Principles:

Dave Z
Last edited by Dave Z on Wed Jan 10, 2024 10:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Agile Approach

Postby Bruce Mardle » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:02 am

Cynic that I am ;) I'm reminded of a saying in engineering*: "Faster, cheaper, better; choose any 2", i.e.
You can quickly design something that's cheap to make... but it won't be very good.
You can quickly design something good... but it'll be expensive to make.
You can design something good that's cheap to make... but it'll take a long time.
(*'Cheaper', in this sense, doesn't really apply to software engineering since duplicating the finished product is almost free.)
(I worked as a computer programmer till the '90s but I'm not familiar with developments since then. My favourite programming language is still plain C :) )
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Re: The Agile Approach

Postby Dave Z » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:35 pm

Hi Bruce,

Well, cynics tend to be honest, themselves, and to hold the rest of us to a higher standard!

My thought is that, the 'choose any two' applies well to high investment artifacts which, once built, must endure.

I think the Agile Process applies where development and learning roll along in cycles. Sort of like the scientific method writ on a very small scale, and perhaps for the average jack-or Jill-of-all trades (non-specialist). It enhances exploration and a progression from one bird-in-the-hand to the next.

When Calamity comes, we'll all be non-specialists relative to the wide range of challenges facing us. A rocket scientist will have to arrange shelter, water and food in short order... while they may have a bit of advantage from their field of expertise, they certainly won't have the leisure to sit down and plan/engineer the ultimate retreat on the spot. The Agile approach settles for enough with room to improve.

Puts me in mind of the difference between an Elephant and a Mosquito. The one invests years and a mountain of resources into a highly adapted but committed body, while the other puts out millions of 'cheap' bodies... good enough and highly adaptable in their cycles of generation.

Which is better? Weeeeell... Elephants are facing extinction and Mosquitos are doing better than ever. My guess is that better vs. worse is a misleading spectrum. Each is a strategy, and we - as People - may have some say in which we apply to any given situation.

Even that may be dubious!

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