Water Levels

One of the things that I think is missing in Agile training is that agile highlights problems and that through learning and solving those problems, you get faster and better.

The flow of work is a river. If the river flows slowly, the deeper it is. 


Traditional methodologies such as Waterfall slow things down. This hides problems. They remain hidden under the surface and are never addressed.

The same thing can be said with Agile, if you do not work towards lowering that water level. For example, focusing only on getting the work done instead of focusing on improvement and learning as well. 

So, how do you lower the water level? Well, you push the limits. You try to go faster. Try something different. Experiment.

For example, If you go a little faster, what happens? If you continue to do things the same way, only faster, you start running into problems. You make compromises, either in quality or scope. For example, code gets messy. You leave out documentation or testing. In these cases, you are not getting better. In fact you are getting worse.

So what do you have to do to keep the quality up? Well, remove waste, get better at getting better, find different ways of doing things. Find out what is valuable and work towards that. 

This of course is easier said than done, but that is why Agile is considered hard and not easy.


As you lower the water level, you start to see problems. This is a crucial time. Most companies balk at this stage and say that Agile doesn’t work. Those that are truly successful in agile fix these problems and move on.


As you get faster, better, you start to see more problems. Solve these problems and continue to get faster and better.

Keep going.

There will always be problems. Those that continue to solve the problems and get better, become highly successful. Those that don’t remain mediocre. They may be successful to a certain extent, but not as successful as those that embrace continuous learning and improvement.

Apologies for the crude diagrams. My artistic ability isn’t that great. I recently got the Apple Pencil for my iPad Pro that I’m using to write this post. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.