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One-page Agile Development Process

dan@danpuckett.org

I thought y'all might be interested in seeing this, as a curiosity if nothing else.

Back in 2015, I needed to create a document for a coaching client that specified the client's current Agile software development process. The purpose of this document was to support the conversations I was having and the training I delivering in the organization, and it was also meant to satisfy the client's ISO 9000 requirements as well.

On the theory that "if it has a staple in it, it doesn't get read", I took it as a challenge to fit the organization's entire Agile development process onto a single sheet of paper.

The first version I wrote was just an 11"x17" sheet of paper with "Never do anything stupid on purpose" written in the middle of it. That went over pretty well. There was, however, a desire expressed in some quarters for me to add more detail. I iterated on the process document based on feedback and on the client's experience. I published many versions, which was easy to do, since the document was so small. This was the most current version I left with them when I moved on to my next client. (I have expurgated the name of the client and a couple of specific details from the document below, to protect the client's privacy.)

Like all processes, this development process represents some compromises, not all of which I'm happy with. In retrospect, I'm not sure why it was important to me that they release on quarter boundaries. I wouldn't do that again, I don't think. This client was obsessed with MoSCoW at the time, so MoSCoW became part of their process. I'd never recommend a client use MoSCoW: there's better ways of expressing priority. Like most process documents, this process document is an unclear mix of "descriptive" and "aspirational"—I still don't know how to resolve that tension.

What I very much like about fitting the whole software development process onto a 11"x17" sheet of paper is also what I like about fitting a user story onto a 3"x5" card: it's 100% clear that not every detail of the process can be included and that we'll have to use our brains and talk with each other if we want to get things done. Also, the process document won't take us weeks to write, won't take us days to read, and will be easy to update. It's human-sized.

For your consideration. You can click on the image below for more detail:

example of one-page Agile development process

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