Andrew Vos tweeted (@AndrewVos, 15 Nov 2012):
Hey, guys! Guys. Listen. I found this new agile tool! It’s called “writing stuff down in a list, then doing them one by one”1
Andrew is right, the core of Agile planning is a list. Actually several lists. The product backlog is just a list of high level requirements. A sprint backlog is just a list of tasks to do during the sprint. And, more or less, the team does them one by one from the top priority to lowest priority.
But I disagree with the colleague of mine who said to me a couple of years back “Agile is just managing lists.”
The lists are useful tools for our own time management or for managing a team. But there is a lot more to Agile than just managing lists including:
- Acknowledging it is all about people
- Product ownership
- Technical practices including automated testing
- Focus on communication, e.g. colocation, daily stand ups
- Making things visible, e.g. boards
- Flexible scope
- Delegation to the lowest responsible level
- Deferring decisions to the last responsible moment e.g. Pain Driven Development
- Emphasising user needs in requirements rather than technical components
- etc, etc
(1) I moderated Andrew’s language somewhat.