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Are You Delivering Value? Or Merely Story Points?

As a practitioner, I've seen this situation go bad more than once. I've seen organizations that "do Agile" very well, but fail to see results for years on end. A lot of software—though developed in an Agile manner—is good at solving problems that nobody cares about. If I build a great site that helps you categorize your pet rock collection, and it's designed to run very well exclusively on an operating system/hardware combination that nobody supports, I may have delivered many story points—but certainly I haven't delivered any business value!

Bottom line: Unless you're in the business of selling abstract "story points," Agile isn't enough. The real test of whether software is successful happens in the marketplace, and that marketplace isn't testable on a developer's machine, or even a continuous-integration environment. You can't test your software in the marketplace until you get it to production. Getting to production as soon and as frequently as possible is the point of the practice of continuous delivery!

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