The Best Idea in Agile

Agile Software Development is something that has become massive. It’s been monetized, muddled, misunderstood, and misused. But there is one thing from the agile revolution that is a genuine leap forward and will likely long outlast everything else from agile. Read on to find out.

Graphic Art of the Best Idea in Agile Software Development - Rapid Evolution

The very best idea of Agile is this:

Rapid evolutionary creation is a far better approach than virtually any other.

What do I mean by that?

I mean one of the very best ways to build something is to get it in front of people, take in their feedback, and evolve it. The more times you can evolve something, the better that thing will be.

The best form of evolution for anything is not random mutation, but guided mutation. Evolution towards specific goals and purposes yields the best change over time.

The way to reach the highest stage of evolution in a progressive evolutionary environment is to go through as many evolutionary iterations as possible.

Why did it take until Agile for this revolutionary idea to spread into collective consciousness?

Because only software and some kinds of art are flexible enough to be iterated on fast enough. Most things can benefit from a guided evolutionary process, but most don’t do it very fast.

If you are an entrepreneur, you’re constrained by the brevity of your life. It’s unlikely that most people can realistically and seriously try 100 business ideas in their life.

If you’re a home-builder, it takes a long time to complete a home-building project, and then a long time after that to get enough useful feedback to improve your next home design.

If you’re celebrating Christmas and you or your family didn’t love a particular year, you probably don’t have more than 60 more tries to improve and perfect your celebration experience. And each year everyone is different, so you’ve got a lot to adapt to and factor in along the way.

Why do we need iterations? Isn’t it possible to deliver the right thing the first time?

Creating the right thing is usually more of a dance, more of a science, than a formula. In math, it’s possible to arrive at the right solution the first time. However, when you are designing something for people to consume or experience, it’s very complex. No one is able to fit into their brain how all people who want to interact with their creation will actually interact with it or feel about it.

Effectively this means that you must either iterate your creation or yourself until a given creation lives up to its potential. Iterating yourself to that level requires iterating your creations until you’ve achieved the level of creativity and insight needed to succeed with multiple creations. Therefore, it’s easier to iterate one thing to success than to iterate your skills to master pure creative brilliance.

If you’re in a solved space, you can deliver a thing correctly the first time, but if you are innovating anything, or in a world that is changing, then you need iteration and refinement.

How can we embrace this key value from Agile?

  1. Deliver Rapidly
  2. Measure The Change Impact
  3. Persistently Repeat

Things don’t improve naturally. In fact, one of the core principles of our world is entropy. Everything naturally goes from better to worse, unless there is a force that acts upon it to make things better.

You need to provide that improving energy.

You also have a limited supply of energy, so you need to choose the right things to focus on.

Once you’ve picked what you want to evolve, then go hard. Deliver frequently and regularly. The faster you get something into the feedback phase, the higher the evolutionary lift.

Then, you’ve got to take in the feedback and determine what the next delivery should look like. Watch how your creation impacts people. See what they say about it. Notice what they aren’t saying about it that they ideally should be.

Persist. Nothing you create is going to nail it on the first, or second try. Persist and evolve until you’ve created the thing you want, and impacted the world in the way you want.


That’s my thought on the very best thing from Agile. I think it’s such a powerful insight that it has forever changed the way we can create and think about creating. I believe that revolution will persist long after the word “Agile” fades from the collective consciousness.

The idea of rapid, evolutionary creation seems like a powerful paradigm that we can use at work, at home, and on ourselves. The more guided iterations we apply to anything, the better it will be.

Come join me on this journey. Let’s rapidly create and iterate in our world.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below in the comments!