Turbine – In Brief

Turbine is a recently published “methodology” that outlines a vision for the continuous delivery of business value driven software iterations.

The creators of Turbine; Marco Tedone and John Ferguson Smart, have put together a manifesto and a supporting structure for how a Turbine style delivery environment can be achieved, consisting of environment conditions in the form of their underlying pillars, and a definition for how teams could be structured. They draw on what they view as the good aspects of Agile and Devops thinking, combine and enhance them to define a culture they believe will create optimal conditions for value driven software delivery.

The Turbine manifesto is written in the spirit of the Agile manifesto, outlining preference for one set of behaviours over another.

  • We value the delivery of business value over the correct implementation of localised optimisations
  • We value collaboration over a separation of business and technology
  • We value quality over quantity and “speed at all cost”
  • We value automation over ceremonies around localised optimisations
  • We value leadership and followership over management and yes-man culture
  • We value a culture of continuous flow and improvement over large big bang releases

The emphasis of the manifesto is very much born out in their stated pillars, or required environmental conditions.

  • Focus on Business Value Delivery
  • Collaboration
  • Quality
  • Automation
  • Trust

The origins of Turbine seem to be rooted in the issues that Tedone and Smart have experienced throughout their careers in software delivery. They’ve observed the sort of badly designed Agile systems that we’ve all experienced, identified the cause to be locally optimised teams, a lack of collaboration between technology and business teams, and practitioners who had missed the point of both Agile and Devops. They then used these observations for the basis of their methodology. To understand more on the origins of Turbine, and in their own words, the blog post below is essential reading.


As with all Agile frameworks or methodologies, Turbine still requires you to think for yourself. As stated, it sets out some environmental conditions, but isn’t prescriptive in how to implement them, or in how you might transition to something that adheres to their manifesto. In this way, Turbine appears to be a vision for a culture, a mindset.

How does the message differ from that of the Agile principles? Well, it doesn’t really, but then they are not trying to re-invent the wheel. The Turbine website states: “Turbine draws on many sources, including Agile, Lean, DevOps, BDD and Peter Merel’s XScale“.

Image credit (under creative commons licence): pixabay

3 thoughts on “Turbine – In Brief”

  1. Thanks for the summary, Jim. I’ve been meaning to look up what they were talking about for a while but can now put off further investigation until I have some spare time.

  2. Thank you for the article James. I’d invite you to join our Meetup group (http://www.meetup.com/London-Turbine-Group/)

    We’ve just started it but there are already quite few interesting discussions going on and we’ve already got 28 members. John and I are preparing a combined talk on the 5 steps to BDD adoption and Turbine and it would be great to see you there.

    Marco Tedone

    1. Thanks for the invite Marco, we will definitely check out the meetup. It would be good to chat through Turbine with you both.

      Thanks for putting yourselves out there too!


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