New Life Philosophy: Iterative Approach to Living

I just came up with a new life "theory" (I love developing theories and trying them out on people): Live life iteratively.

The best analogy is the agile software development process. Below are excerpts from the Wikipedia entry on agile software development. If you substitute "living life" for "developing software," you end up with a life philosophy is premised on making lots of little decisions, iterating on the results of those decisions, reacting smartly to actions out of your control (most of what we do day-to-day is react), and never being overly confident in your ability to predict the future.

Most agile methods attempt to minimize risk by developing software in short timeboxes, called iterations, which typically last one to four weeks. Each iteration is like a miniature software project of its own, and includes all of the tasks necessary to release the mini-increment of new functionality: planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, and documentation. While an iteration may not add enough functionality to warrant releasing the product, an agile software project intends to be capable of releasing new software at the end of every iteration. At the end of each iteration, the team reevaluates project priorities….

A more accurate distinction is to say that methods exist on a continuum from "adaptive" to "predictive". Agile methods exist on the "adaptive" side of this continuum…

Adaptive methods focus on adapting quickly to changing realities. When the needs of a project change, an adaptive team changes as well. An adaptive team will have difficulty describing exactly what will happen in the future. The further away a date is, the more vague an adaptive method will be about what will happen on that date. An adaptive team can report exactly what tasks are being done next week, but only which features are planned for next month. When asked about a release six months from now, an adaptive team may only be able to report the mission statement for the release, or a statement of expected value vs. cost.

3 Responses to New Life Philosophy: Iterative Approach to Living

  1. Brad Feld says:

    You need to make sure you spend some time with the Rally Software guys while you are here as they are experts at the agile methodology as applied to software and Ryan Martens (CTO/founder) probably has some very interesting mappings to “life.” Herb Morealle (Me.dium CTO) is also an aggressive agile practioner – lunch with both of these guys together would result in a really interesting conversation.

  2. krishna says:

    Ben,

    Just a few days down with Brad and you’re already getting your feet wet in the VC ecosystem. Your 2007 Q1 results are sure going to be earnings ( nee value ) accretive – courtesy association with Mobius and its incubatees. Carry on the good work.

  3. andy says:

    this is such a sweet post. “Sorry, I just can’t accurately predict what will happen to me in 4 months. I hope I will be able to make it back home, that is certainly the game plan, but really, who knows.”

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