Pocket Knives & Agile

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Pocket Knives & Agile

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You all may not know this, but I’m a fairly avid collector of pocket knives. I tend to gravitate towards knives that are:

While I care about the ultimate price, I care more about all of the above factors. I guess I consider each purchase an investment of sorts as I build my collection.

One of the best-known names in the field is Chris Reeves. I’ve got a couple of his knives and there are many things that make them stand out from the crowd. And I mean the crowd of other high-end knife makers, including:

  1. The quality is impeccable. They use the finest materials they can find and are expert in working the materials.

  2. The knives are designed impeccably and simply. And the designs stand the test of time. That being said, CR seems to continuously be tweaking each design for improvement.

  3. Fit & finish is, simply put, phenomenal. Each knife screams high quality. You literally can’t find a blemish, minor flaw, or tolerance that isn’t perfect.

  4. Each knife comes with a lifetime guarantee. If anything happens, you just ship it back for repair. In other words, they stand behind their work.

Here’s the exact wording of the guarantee

Our knives are guaranteed for life. They are designed for a specific purpose. Should the knife fail after purchase by the original user due to faulty workmanship or materials, such defects will be made good free of cost. The right is reserved to make good such defects by repair or replacement. This guarantee does not cover natural materials, incorrect applications, neglect, or abuse. We will back up the functionality of the product and not necessarily the aesthetics of the knife. This guarantee is void if the knife has been modified in any way outside of our shop.

As an additional service to you, we will clean, tune, and sharpen our folding knives and clean and sharpen our fixed blade knives, you just pay for shipping, as long as the knife has not been modified in any way outside of our shop.

I can read everyone’s minds. What the heck does this have to do with agile approaches to software development & delivery?

Well, I think quite a lot.

First of all, I can tell that production timing and cost are not the prime drivers for CR. They are true craftspeople and the craft of knife building is their number one priority and focus.

You can see it in the quality, fit & finish, and in the standards. And ultimately, in the results, which are greater than any other premium knife provided I’ve purchased from.

As you can see in the photo, the knives are also designed thoughtfully. They are inherently simple. The locking mechanism that locks the blade is simple, incredibly reliable, and often “borrowed” by other knife makers.

I can’t speak for every customer, but many customers are willing to pay for the quality. CR knives are well known and admired and they’re generally hard to find, being often back-ordered with long waiting lists.

I wish every agile team put as much focus on the quality of our:

as Chris Reeves knives do. They clearly lead with these things and let the production schedules and dollars sort themselves out.

And therein often lies true success. Or I think it might…

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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