Dave Todaro Presents the Art of Thin Slicing: Build 100% of Something Instead of 100% of Nothing

One of our clients asked us to discuss how we approach a nuanced yet critical aspect of creating shippable increments every two weeks. Dave Todaro presented to 80+ technical experts on the The Art of Thin Slicing: Build 100% of Something Instead of 100% of Nothing. hashtag#agilesoftwaredevelopment hashtag#scrum



Using a waterfall approach involves building individual components of the product that will eventually come together to form the entire application. First, the data layer might be coded. Then some business logic might be layered on top of it. Then perhaps the user interface.

Testing comes at the end and nothing is really driven to “done” until the conclusion of the entire process. Because no part of the product has been driven to a shippable level of quality, the team has built 100% of…nothing.

In contrast, an agile approach emphasizes building the product iteratively and incrementally in thin, vertical slices. A very small piece of functionality is selected and everything–from the user interface down to the database–is designed, coded, and tested within one sprint. This permits the team to build 100% of something, and deliver a product increment at the end of the iteration. They then repeat the process, adding a little more capability to the product during each sprint, always driven by what delivers the highest business value.

In this session, software development expert and agile author Dave Todaro will leverage a real-life example to explain the conceptual approach of building products incrementally and iteratively, and explain how to leverage a variety of techniques to learn the art of thin slicing.

Key takeaways:

  • Why it’s so important to build the product in thin, vertical slices, as opposed to horizontally.
  • When features and user stories are too large and need to be split into thin vertical slices.
  • The right time to perform the splitting process and who should be involved in splitting.
  • The six-way model for splitting epics and user stories.
  • Using the alternative SPIDR technique.
  • Leveraging the INVEST mnemonic to ensure the quality of your split stories.


Topics: Agile, Software Development, Shippable Increment


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