Just in Time or Just in Case?

A huge form of waste that many people don’t talk about are those things that are built “just in case” we might need them some day.

I think that those involved in building a product often times forget that everything that is built costs something.  Nothing is free.  Who’s paying for it?  The customer is.  Everything we do must deliver some kind of business value, either by reducing risk, meeting compliance, cutting costs, increasing revenue, etc.
There are certain phrases that I listen for like “it would be cool if…”, “someday we  might want to…”, etc.  Some tend to want to build to accommodate edge cases that are (many times) so ridiculous that they would never happen.  Now what gets really tricky is when there is only one SME in the product group, and no one else really knows that domain.  In those cases, God help you!  That SME has the power to make you do things that you look back on and say “WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!?!?”.  The only way to get around this is to fearlessly and relentlessly ask “why?”.  In these situations, there is typically a touch of fear that compels the team to bow down and say “yes master, whatever you wish” instead of asking probing questions.

There are some Scrum Masters (and Project Managers) that typically stay out of those kinds of details.  Yes, the team is self-organizing.  Yes, the team has to learn by making mistakes.  However, the Scrum Master has to be involved enough to not allow the “just in case” methodology from taking hold.  If it’s allowed to go on too long, you will have found out that what you have delivered in the end is not what is  valuable now.

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About Andre Simones
I am a founding partner of One80 Services that specializes in agile training, small business and startup guidance, and custom development. My goal is plain and simple. To see others succeed. I want to teach you how stop doing the things that aren't working and give you tools that will empower you to succeed on your own.

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