What worried me about running, tested features

I recall when I read the #noestimates book, there was a concept that felt strange to me – and it still does. Without spoiling too much, at one point the concept of running, tested feature (RTF) is introduced. Let’s explore my thoughts together.

What is a running, tested feature?

So, the basics are, a running, tested feature is similar to something of value for the customer or user. In the book, the author makes the point to primarily measure the progress of a product on the product upon running, tested features, something of value to the customer or user.

Of course, a particular might not be in the position to work on running, tested features during the Sprint or cadence. Then that team will have to break down that valuable thing into smaller pieces that they feel comfortable delivering and have these smaller, probably not-valuable things in their Sprint or cadence.

Still, we continue measuring our progress on those valuable things.

What were my thoughts?

Don’t get me wrong here. I totally buy into the idea to work on smaller things, if you are not able to deliver something valuable to your customers or users out of the box.

On the other hand, isn’t there an opportunity laid bare in front of our eyes? If we as a team strive to improve continuously toward the goal of being able to work on only running, tested features, something valuable to our customers and users, wouldn’t we be better off? We might not be there, yet, and there may still be a huge gap before we are eventually able to deal with only running, tested features, but isn’t striving towards that kind of perfection the thing we should be working on as our top priority?

I think it is.

And then, I had a deja vu when I was reading about stream-aligned teams in the team topologies, and three other types of teams. It was the same lack of perfection perspective, that bothered me there as well.

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