Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation

Why I Advocate ‘Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation’ in Agile

Allow me to ask you an important question “Have you ever purchased a product solely because its documentation was immaculate and not caring about its functionality or value? πŸš€

I bet you’re struggling to recall such an instance. I cannot imagine a single example in my many years of leading Scrum and Agile teams. If you can think of such an occasion, I’d love to hear it!

So, this brings me to ask a second question, ‘Have you ever been left scratching your head about the Agile Manifesto’s assertion for “Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation? πŸ€”

It’s a phrase that I’ve been asked to explain countless times, and it’s a value that can sometimes feel counter-intuitive.

So, let’s take a moment to delve into it. πŸ“šπŸ–₯️

Breaking Down the Myths: Documentation in Agile

What we’re talking about in working software over comprehensive documentation is certainly not getting rid of documentation. As such, it’s striking the balance of having enough documentation to run your product and your organisation responsibly.

In truth, “Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation” doesn’t mean discarding documentation altogether. It’s about achieving a balance πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

It’s about having just enough documentation to operate your product and run your organisation responsibly.

A New Perspective: Documentation as an Aid, Not the Star

But here’s the key insight πŸ’‘: Customers are not buying your product for its detailed documentation. They care about the outcome, the benefits, and the needs your product meets – the working software.

Now, let’s look at the documentation from this perspective: It’s a tool that helps users achieve what they need from the product. But the documentation should never overshadow the primary goal – delivering a product that works, provides value, and meets user needs.

So, let’s not lose sight of the core focus in our agile endeavours – delivering working, valuable software while using documentation as a supportive tool. Keep your product at the forefront, your user’s needs paramount, and let’s build software that speaks for itself!

If you’ve enjoyed my insights and want to dive deeper into Agile principles, look at some of the courses available to shape your Agile future!

Thank you for being part of our Agile journey! πŸ’ͺπŸ’ΌπŸ’‘

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For more information on John McFadyen, visit https://www.johnmcfadyen.com or connect with John on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnmcfadyen/.

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author avatar
John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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