How fast is Agile?

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It all depends on how you define “faster”. Work should look relaxed, competent, in control, steady, leisurely even.
Results should usually come faster.

(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / Smileus

Not necessarily the same results as before either: the minimum mandatory result, satisfying customers.
Agile is intelligent laziness: do only what delivers value, do only what we need, do it at the last responsible moment.
And only as fast as is sustainable, without accruing systems (technical) debt or human (cultural) debt.

 

Much as I criticise Theory of Constraints, it offers insight here. If a constraint is overburdened, elevating the constraint (ToC has its own jargon) is not the first thing you do.
Making development faster with Agile is good and all, but first subordinate the work upstream of it to prevent the overburden.
What that means in English is before you get faster at Dev, get some control over demand.

This tweet reminds us that Agile *usually* makes us faster because we cut the crap, but that is a side effect. It’s not what Agile is for. Agile increases agility not speed. It’s in the name.