An Agile Tale: The Tortoise And The Hare

When you feel that you are not agile enough, remember:Turtles live longer than hares.
What do you think about that opinion?
In this article I will share what I think about it.

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About two weeks ago, a friend of mine posted this on his facebook timeline

When you feel that you are not agile enough, just remember:
Turtles live longer than hares

I really tempted to reply on that, but finally decided not to.

Few days after that, we had different discussion and somehow he mentioned that quote he wrote.

That time I chose not to argue but tried to understand his view on that.

I realized that he had some valid points, but I tended to see it from different way.

So the day went by and I kept thinking about it. During my way back home, I browse through the internet and found this link:

I realized that the link somehow explains what I should respond to our conversation. So I post it in my linkedin timeline and also in my facebook timeline.

agile doesn't mean fast

The next day, we discussed more about that and I think (I hope) he came to the same understanding with me.

Let me elaborate more… Keep on reading 🙂

The Tale And How I See It

I assume we all know about The Tortoise And The Hare tale.

For those who don’t know, read it in this link:

tortoise and the hare
taken from

The Values

One of the framework for agile development is Scrum. There are some values that scrum has, which are Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect and Courage.

scrum values
taken from

Looking back to the tale,

  • Tortoise has a commitment to run the race the best it could, while the hare just too proud of itself to keep the commitment
  • Tortoise really focus on achieving the race goal and giving the best quality it could give for the race
  • I don’t see the openness part in the story, but every other animals know how slow the tortoise is and the tortoise is not trying to camouflage that
  • Tortoise definitely put a big respect for the race by running the best it could, while the hare not only disrespecting the race but also disrespecting its rival, which is the tortoise
  • Talking about courage… I bet we all agree that the tortoise has some guts 🙂

You see my point, right?

It is true that the hare is fast, but when it’s not being committed, ignore the quality that it capable to give, neglecting the goal that it should achieve, not respecting the race, I don’t think that the hare is ‘agile’.

The tortoise, on the other hand, slow. But it keeps its commitment, fight the best it could for the race, focus on the goal of the race, put full respect on the race. That makes the tortoise ‘agile’


Furthermore, referring to the link I shared above, there’s one thing in agility that we should not ignore.
It’s called sustainability.

The sustainability I refer to here is about team sustainability in working with the same level of spirit and also the sustainability in producing a high quality product that align with the value needed by the customers.

What’s the point of being fast if it just last for some time?
What’s the point of being fast if after some sprints the team felt drained and can’t be a high performance team?

What’s the point of being fast if the team produces something that the customers not really needed?

Fast in agile sometime interpreted wrongly.
For me, fast in agile meaning that we have a fast feedback from the market which allows us to deliver something that bring value to them.
Fast in agile refers to early delivery and not fast delivery.

“Fast” and Sustainability must go in pair if you want agile to be agile.


Lots of people have misconceptions about agility and resulting of being skeptic about agile or any related frameworks.

The tortoise and the hare is a good example of agility.

Be sustainable, walk the talk of the scrum values, uphold the customer value, that will be more important than just being fast.

Cheers 🙂

Author: Christine Anna

Working in IT field since 2000. I started my career as a graphic designer, a web designer and a web programmer. Expanded my skill as a System Analyst. Not enough with that, I currently active in Project Management activities. A professional, a sport lover, a singer, a social community activist, a mother, a wife :) Visit my linkedin: ---- Blog Owner: - - - - - - - - Blog Contributor:

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