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The Allure of "One More Change"

September 21, 2023

Incremental delivery is not wasteful it is efficient

Scrum uses an incremental approach to value delivery. Incremental delivery - or delivering value frequently - is a core concept of Scrum and yet it is so often misunderstood. Some might argue that it's wasteful to not make a few additional small changes or updates when you're already deep in the code. However, this perception is often rooted in a misconception. In reality, not using incremental delivery can be far more wasteful and inefficient.

The Allure of "One More Change"

Picture this common scenario: a developer is knee-deep in code, meticulously crafting a software module. Suddenly, a thought occurs, "I'm in the code already… I'll just make one more change." It seems like a reasonable idea. After all, if you're already working on a particular part of the system, why not squeeze in a few extra changes? This mentality, however, can lead to a cascade of problems.

The Pitfalls of the 'One More Change' Approach

1. Lower Priority Work: Making "one more change" just because you're already in the code can often divert your focus from higher-priority tasks. It's akin to chasing after shiny objects instead of staying on course.

2. Efficiency Dilemma: Contrary to the initial perception of efficiency, this approach can lead to inefficiencies. It distracts you from the primary goal and might even result in working on features that aren't immediately needed. For example, that one change could result in a cascade of additional testing tasks which may be much more work than the change initially made by the Developer.

3. Future-Proof Fallacy: The belief that you'll never revisit a particular module again is unrealistic. Software is a living entity, constantly evolving to meet changing requirements and adapt to new technologies. Not returning to a part of the system is a rarity.

Incremental Delivery in Scrum

The Wisdom of Incremental Delivery

Incremental delivery is like the compass that guides Scrum Teams through the vast landscape of software development. It not only saves time but also ensures that every action aligns with the project's overarching goals.

1. Prioritizing the Essential: Incremental delivery forces you to prioritize and work on the highest-priority tasks. This focus prevents the inclusion of non-essential features that can bloat your project.

2. Avoiding Gold Plating: By not cramming every conceivable change into your current work, you avoid gold plating your software. It ensures that you're delivering precisely what's required and nothing more.

3. Customer-Centric Approach: Incremental delivery places the customer at the center of development. You can gauge the value of your work through continuous feedback and pivot if something isn't working, or move on to the next most critical task if it is.

4. Resource Efficiency: Efficient allocation of resources is a hallmark of Scrum. Incremental delivery helps in this regard by channeling your efforts where they matter most.

The Power of Adaptation

In today's dynamic business landscape, adaptability is a paramount quality for any software development team. Incremental delivery enables this by allowing you to pivot based on real-world results. If a feature isn't resonating with your customers, you can change direction swiftly, saving time and resources. Conversely, if your delivered work satisfies customer needs, there's no need to overburden the system with more of the same.


Incremental delivery is not about rushing or cutting corners; it's about being smart and efficient in your software development journey. New developers in the world of Scrum may initially struggle with this concept, but with experience and understanding, they come to appreciate its value. Embracing incremental delivery means delivering only what is needed, focusing on the highest-priority tasks, and adapting to changing circumstances. It's not about "one more change"; it's about delivering meaningful change that moves your project forward efficiently and effectively.

To learn more about incremental delivery, signup for Rebel Scrum's Professional Scrum Master course.  For those interested in the Product Owner accountability, signup for Rebel Scrum's upcoming Professional Scrum Product Owner class.




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