Dempsey (2012)
Agile Principle

Baby Steps

Alternative name(s)





Baby steps is one of principles behind XP (eXtreme Programming). It means performing changes in small steps.On coding level, it means changing code in small bits and then verify that the feature still works after every small change (Artem, 2007). On architecture level, it means that if there is a need to create or change architecture, the change has to be performed in small steps even though the initial and final architecture might differ significantly. On the requirement level, it means dividing large features into smaller features that can be developed, delivered and evaluated separately.


The advantages of baby steps is that it allows features or direction verified frequently, so that any mistake can be noticed early and corrected easily (Artem, 2007). Every mistake is only a baby mistake with low risk. This results in less initial investment. However the disadvantage of the principle is that it requires frequent verification that can take a lot of time if the team doesn't use test-driven development and doesn't have extensive set of unit tests.Organisations are always tempted to bring big changes in big steps. The organisations want to take big steps because there is a long way to go at a shorter period of time. Taking significant changes at once can be dangerous (Beck, 2004)

Links to other agile principles or practices

Continuous Improvement in all aspects of the business is essential for meeting the challenge of today's turbulent environments (John, Sarah, 1997). continuous improvement can be improved by taking baby steps towards the goals of the projects. In baby step principle, exercise starts from, writing a small test, writing a small code and test it and improve it if require. By using this principle the process of continuous improvement can be improved. Sustainable pace in projects is crucial especially in IT software development projects(Agile Manifesto). Taking baby steps to gain sustainable pace can help projects to enhance success chances. Self organisation is also an important agile principle when it comes to baby steps.

Links to PMO knowledge areas (KAs)

Baby steps in agile methodology is related to Trial-and-Error. Trial and error is about getting feedback and changing the process or product accordingly (Fish&Chips, 2012). By using baby steps trial and error procedure can be improved. Project learning is also related with baby step principle of agile. Baby step principle is also related with success factor . All above mention PMO knowledge areas can be improved by using baby step principles in these areas.

Examples of use outside to IT domain

Education: Baby steps in education is very vital, as baby steps indicates one step at a time, so it is in education. Pupils and students have to pass through different levels (level 3, 4, 5, 6) etc. so it applies to their learning syllabus. Health Service (NSPCC) Baby steps are now used for health purposes especially to follow up mothers and babies (foetus), to see them through the stages of pregnancy, birth and beyond.Marketing: Baby steps is used in many marketing firm as a guide to reach the business target or strategy.


Artem (2007), Baby steps. Available at: [Accessed: 4th March 2014]

Beck, K (2004) Extreme programming explained. Addison- Wesley.
Dempsey (2012) Picture. Available at: [Accessed: 3rd March 2014]

Fish & Chips, (2012), Trial and error, PMO knowledge areas, wiki spaces university of Hertfordshire.

John. B, Sarah. C (1997), high involvement innovation through continuous improvement, International journal of technology management, Vol. 14 No. 1. NSPCC (2014) “Baby Steps” [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 3rd March, 2014]

Barry J (2013) “3 Baby Steps to a Content Marketing Strategy” [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 3rd March, 2014]

Wehrmann K. (2000) “Educational Leadership” [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 3rd March, 2014]

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