The rules of the yak shave

Yak shaves. They’re great fun. Like most things, yak shaving is more fun when you have some rules to guide you away from the un-fun parts:

  • always have a goal, know when you’re done
  • timebox it
  • work on a branch so you can switch to real work if you need to
  • make smaller commits than usual so you can unwind if you should go awry
  • don’t worry about writing tests if you don’t know what you’re doing
  • if you aren’t sure where you are going, write a test harness and iterate on that
  • have a pair or buddy to talk through what you’re trying to do and how to get there
  • bail out if you are starting to burn out, face diminishing returns, or think of a better way to shave they yak
Fun fact: this post is in fact a yak shave extracted from a post on yak shaving.
Adam Keys @therealadam