(2019-09-16) Jeffries Twelve Talk

Ron Jeffries: Twelve. This article expresses, in written form, the talk that Chet Hendrickson and I gave at the deliver:Agile conference. Al Smith once said “The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy”. We say The cure for the ills of “Agile” is more Agile. See 2019-05-03-JeffriesAgileTwelve and 2yrs-ago 2017-06-25-JeffriesNewSoftwareDevelopmentFrameworkIdeas.

Kent Beck has said that when he formulated Extreme Programming, he took the good practices he knew and turned the dials up to 11.

Here, twenty years later, let’s look at what happens if we turn the dials up to 12.

Specialized Roles

A common result of this authority-based role separation, and in our view, all role separations, is that the team is held back from self-organizing, and from using their best ability to produce a creative solution to the business needs.

If we turn the dials of self-organization all the way to 12, we would eliminate specialized roles, while of course still requiring all the skills and abilities needed to build the product.

Complete Team (Whole Team/Product Team): A self-organizing diverse community working together in close proximity, including all necessary capabilities and skills


With dials at 12, we replace the notion of a backlog with an example-based plan. Each proposed aspect of our product, large or small, is described with one, or many, specific examples. In a software product, we expect these examples to be expressed as automated “checks”. (acceptance test)


With dials at 12, we have a continuously-available, continuously improving Working Software Product. (increment)

Sprints and Iterations

In Twelve, we want to see continuous delivery of our product, valuable working software:

Rituals, Events, Ceremonies

Whatever the team’s intervals, and the company’s intervals may be, with dials at 12 we treat them all the same way:

  • Entry Bracket: We determine a concrete prospective example of what we plan to accomplish in the interval;
  • Exit Bracket: We assess our performance in the light of the passed interval, and use our actual results in retrospect, to prepare us for the next entry bracket.

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