14.4 Agile concepts and techniques
14.4.1 The feedback loop
A fundamental concept in agile is to gather feedback from a customer as quickly as possible. This is in keeping with the PRINCE2 Agile behaviour of exploration. This takes the form of a cycle where something is delivered, gets used, creates feedback (which can be in many forms) and then drives further decisions and deliveries (see Figure 14.2).
Lean Startup puts particular focus on this and aims to make this cycle as short as possible in order to become more responsive. It refers to this as ‘accelerating the feedback loop’. How short a timescale this feedback loop will be varies considerably between different organizations in different sectors, but the aim is to move from months to weeks, weeks to days and even days to hours. Sprint reviews and release reviews are examples of where this feedback can be collected.
Ideally, this feedback should be as ‘true’ as possible and involve the end customer. Having said that, any feedback about the project process or the product being created is going to have value. The ultimate goal is to have real customer feedback in as short a time as possible: this may require continual customer involvement.
The feedback loop is of great importance to being truly agile. A lot of emphasis on effort should be channelled into making this as short and effective as possible.
Other forms of feedback loop exist such as:
- OODA (Observe, Orient(ate), Decide, Act)
- PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act)
- PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act)
- Build, measure, learn (Lean Startup).