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What does the 7th Agile Principle (Working software is the measure of progress) look like in Action?

Blog: Agile Adoption Roadmap

What does it mean to be agile? It starts with aligning with Agile values and principles. In this article, I expand on the seventh principle to better understand what it means. More importantly, I attempt to identify what evidence looks like to determine if there is alignment to the principle and if a culture change may be occurring. Let’s take a deeper dive into this principle.  

Working software is the primary measure of progress. From an agile perspective, working software is the best measure of progress. Working software must be produced at the end of each time-boxed period (sprint). You may use other measures to help gauge progress, such as Sprint Burndown, but they should be minor in relation to the criterion of working software. 

The reason for this new thinking on measures is that when you follow a waterfall process, you may be 50 percent through the project schedule and have no working software. From a customer perspective, you haven’t accomplished anything. Although there may be internal benefits to gathering requirements, preparing a plan, and doing design and development work, an external paying customer only values the actual working software. You don’t get credit for in-progress stuff, only the working software. 

This is why, at the end of each time-boxed period, working software is delivered and validated with the customer during the demo. In addition, working software must meet “done criteria” to ensure high quality of the result. Now that we better understand the principle, what actions exhibit working software as the measure of progress?

It is up to you to determine what supporting evidence looks like when a company believes that Working software is the measure of progress and the advantages it brings. It is worth experimenting with this as it will help you better understand and embrace the Agile principles. The ultimate question is, do you believe in the benefits of “Working software is the measure of progress”?


Learn more about what other Agile Principles look like in action:
  • 1st Agile Principle (Satisfying Customer with Valuable Software) at:
  • 2nd Agile Principle (Welcome Change to Requirements) at:
  • 3rd Agile Principle (Frequent Delivery) at:
  • 4th Agile Principle (Business and Development Work Together) at:
  • 5th Agile Principle (Face-to-Face Conversation) at:
  • 6th Agile Principle (Working Software is the Measure of Progress) at:

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