Are you agile? Or ad hoc?

What’s the difference? Discipline (and results).
We recently had a review of 2012 in our team. It was a mixed year. We had some purple patches where we were really productive and delivered a lot of value, and we had some poor patches where we hardly delivered anything and were sometimes even working at cross purposes.
We looked a bit further, and found two common factors for when we were successful.
1we had a clear high-level focus within which our work fitted
2 we worked together as a team on the same stories, rather than taking a story each
3 we were disciplined in applying our processes, in particular the preparation and finishing portions.
It works best if, before implementation, we:
– define or update the use cases
– prepare a high-level design and review it as a team (one-page A4 annotated diagram or update of existing diagram)
– define acceptance tests and get them reviewed
It also works best when we do a weekly build and go through the acceptance tests for all the week’s stories as well as checking standard behaviour

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