Agile Principle 10 – Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”

This quote from Henry David Thoreau kind of sums up this part of the Agile manifesto for me.

This principle that makes good common sense but like most things Agile may take time to achieve and more effort than you’d first think. The concept here is easy enough, simplify everything you can and use the time saved to maximize the amount of time you spend delivering true functionality into the business.

To achieve this goal you’ll need to carefully consider everything connected with your projects and day to day activities. No small undertaking!

Thinking about a Microsoft Dynamics CRM project this principle could be applied in several different areas;

System Design – Making use of features out of the box with little or no configuration will speed the delivery of the solution and make it easier to upgrade / maintain in the future. So always go for a simple design and only add complexity as the system grows.

Documentation – Don’t document “stuff” for the sake of documentation. For example: Don’t create a lengthy Functional Requirements Document unless really needed. If you can prototype the solution and avoid “wasting” time on theoretical documents that do that.

strong>System complexity – Keep it simple stupid. As I have said before!

Project Governance – Developers need to spend their time coding, testers need to spend their time testing. Obviously! So apply as little governance to them as possible. You need light touch governance to ensure basic quality gates are completed but actively seek to cut out as much red tape as possible.

I did read that Henry David Thoreau revisited his famous quote and re-wrote it as “Simplify“. I don’t know how true that comment actually is but as a story it really sums up the mind set you need to have to this principle.

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