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The Danger of Small Batches Addiction

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When we talk about the benefits of working with small batches we talk about risk reduction, about improving flow, and getting quick feedback.

I call these reasons “scientific”.

I believe that the main reason for working in small batches is getting things done. The value of getting things done is mainly a moralistic one. It is good to get things done – it does good to your soul.

This leads us to the dark side of working in small batches – The Addiction.

I see many organizations where people are addicted to getting things done very quickly: fixing defects, making small changes, drowning in many little things, all the time looking one sprint forward, in the good case. Many things are getting done all the time but the work is mainly reactive and not proactive. All the “big projects”  – items that will bring great user value or improve infrastructure, are stuck somewhere in the pipeline.

What can they do about it? Can they muster enough patience to work on something big? It is very difficult.

The thing to do is to take the big change and slice it down into small chunks with enough value. Small enough to not require too much patience from the organization and with enough value to provide that feeling of “getting it done” like other day to day items provide. Like other stuff, every small chunk should be deployed – that’s what will make it the real thing.

Slicing big items is a challenge at the beginning but practice makes it quite straight forward. Don’t let the size of things stop you from getting them done.

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