Ever heard of Bunsen? This burger restaurant expanded to multiple locations across Ireland and is my second example in #mydailyagileexperience. For now, not the restaurant, but their menu plays the main part within this story.
Their menu, the exact size of a business card, can be used as an excellent example of “less is more” (the notion that simplicity and clarity lead to good design). If you look at the reviews people wrote about the restaurant, or just look at their statistics on Tripadvisor for example, you will notice that more than 65% of their customers ranked the restaurant as excellent, and over more than 90% as very good. So, what is their secret?
I will not directly say that their small menu is the only key to their success, but it certainly plays a part. Your choices: a hamburger or a cheeseburger (or just double the burger) with some basic toppings in combination with one of their three different types of fries and one of their two beverages. This is not that much, right?
But why is “less is more” a good Agile practice? Okay, let’s take a look at the essence of why you want to be Agile first. Talking from my perspective, you want to be Agile, so you’re able to react quickly to customer wishes or market changes. You can succeed in this by shipping small pieces of work to your customer fast, learn from their feedback, update your product and ship a new and better one to stay ahead of your competitors.
But, if making things small is key, how come? When something is small it’s often less complicated and better to understand. When something is better to understand, it’s usually more appreciated. Therefore we want to avoid complexity and make things simple. “Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential”. Sounds familiar right? Read more in the Agile Manifesto.
Please let me explain the 10th Agile principle in a nutshell:
- Simplicity: you can apply the KISS rule here (Keep It Stupid and Simple). Simple things do not cost a lot of time or money to implement and are therefore easy to revert or to adjust.
- The art of maximizing the amount of work not done: this means that sometimes within an Agile environment you need to skip some processes or steps to reach the same value at the end. In other words: Work not done that was planned to do, with the same value at the end, can be classified as waste (Lean thinking).
When making things small, they’re easier to understand, less complicated to create and faster to finish. Even when something is not working or just a bad idea, it can prevent you from a lot of damage.
There is one other big advantage I want to mention that comes together with making things small. When making things small, most of the time you repeat several actions over and over again. When you execute a particular type of action frequently, you will become faster and better in it. Awesome, right?!
The last example I want to share with you about the advantage of simplicity brings us right back to the beginning of this article. The art of preparing food. I guess you saw at least one episode of Gordon Ramsey’s show. Within his show, he helps restaurants that are close to bankrupt and serving bad food, start making a profit and serving quality food again. One trick he always executes (that’s why he’s good at it) is: shorten and simplify the current menu. It’s up to you to think about the benefits of this action… Maybe you want to share your thoughts about the benefits within the comments section?
So… is this the secret of Bunsen?