Agile Chicken Gun

Sometimes even Agile coaches and Agile practitioners don’t take their own advice and don’t practice what they preach.

“Sometimes even, you can put a bunch of Agile coaches together and they don’t even prescribe to their own medicine!” – Don Gray

Confession: I’ve been pounding my head against a wall for weeks in regards to a certain process that I was undertaking for a client. Something wasn’t working… obviously.

Well, fortunately for me, I work with another awesome Agile coach @donaldegray and he helped me out big time. Hey, nobodies perfect!

Donald reminded me of the simple adage: “FAIL FAST.” – Filter out the unnecessary and get yourself to the point already! He used the example of chickens and the chicken gun (wikipedia link)… have you heard of them? So many airplanes used to fail because they’d fly through flocks of birds. So, what did the airlines do? They build an engine, and then immediately tested it by shooting chickens at it to see whether it would fail or not. FAIL FAST! Know exactly what works and what doesn’t work!

Agile Chicken Gun = Fail Fast

Thanks Don. Because of you I have been reminded about failing fast in your own work is living by what I teach. Remember your chicken guns and create ways for you to fail fast, iterate, improve, and go forward!

Watch some chickens in action:


2 Replies to “Agile Chicken Gun”

  1. Thanks Peter! This provides me with “one more round of ammunition” for a saying I’ve been using quite a bit to inspire the teams I’m on: “What’s the simplest thing that could possibly work?”. “Fail Fast”, then, translates to “What’s the easiest way to fail quickly (and cheaply)?” The real-world example of chicken-based turbine testing will be a good illustrative example that I can use.


Leave a Reply