Agile Glossary

Sustainable Pace

What is Sustainable Pace?

The team aims for a work pace that they would be able to sustain indefinitely.

This entails a firm refusal of what is often considered a “necessary evil” in the software industry – long work hours, overtime, or even working nights or weekends. As such this “practice” is really more of a contract negotiated between the team and their management.

Also Known As

The term “sustainable pace”, more general, was proposed by Kent Beck himself in replacement of the original “40-hour week” denomination for this Extreme Programming practice.

Expected Benefits

The Agile mindset views recourse to overtime, other than on an exceptional basis, as detrimental to productivity rather than enhancing it. Overtime tends to mask schedule, management, or quality deficiencies; the Agile approach favors exposing these deficiencies as early as possible and remedying their underlying causes, rather than merely treating the symptoms.

Academic Publications

There is a consensus that research in manufacturing industries generally shows that overtime has a detrimental impact on productivity.

Some caveats apply when transposing this to software development; one review considers the research in this area inconclusive; even defining the term “productivity” is problematic in the context of knowledge work; few studies appear to have been conducted that apply specifically to overtime among knowledge workers.

Several articles and industry presentations have made a strong case against overtime in the software development context, and provide further references to published academic research.

Add to Bookmarks Remove Bookmark
Add to Bookmarks Remove from Bookmarks
Add to Bookmarks Remove from Bookmarks

Thank you to our Annual Partners​

Join us today!

Agile Alliance offers many online and in-person events and workshops for our members. If you’re not currently a member, you can join now for just $49 per year.

Get the latest Agile news!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By subscribing, you acknowledge the Agile Alliance Privacy Policy, and agree to receive our emails.

Additional Agile Glossary Terms

An acceptance test is a formal description of the behavior of a software product, generally expressed as an example or a usage scenario. A number of different notations and approaches have been proposed for such examples or scenarios.
Test-driven development (TDD) is a style of programming where coding, testing, and design are tightly interwoven. Benefits include reduction in defect rates.
The team meets regularly to reflect on the most significant events that occurred since the previous such meeting, and identify opportunities for improvement.
A product backlog is a list of the new features, changes to existing features, bug fixes, infrastructure changes or other activities that a team may deliver in order to achieve a specific outcome.
An acceptance test is a formal description of the behavior of a software product, generally expressed as an example or a usage scenario. A number of different notations and approaches have been proposed for such examples or scenarios.
Test-driven development (TDD) is a style of programming where coding, testing, and design are tightly interwoven. Benefits include reduction in defect rates.
The team meets regularly to reflect on the most significant events that occurred since the previous such meeting, and identify opportunities for improvement.

Help us keep the definitions updated

Discover the many benefits of membership

Your membership enables Agile Alliance to offer a wealth of first-rate resources, present renowned international events, support global community groups, and more — all geared toward helping Agile practitioners reach their full potential and deliver innovative, Agile solutions.

Not yet a member? Sign up now

Member Dues are Increasing on March 1, 2024
Member Dues are Increasing March 1, 2024

Renew your Membership
or Sign-up Now and Save!

Effective March 1, 2024, select membership levels will see a slight increase in dues, a change from our temporary reduction during the COVID-19 pandemic to support our community. Read more about the changes here.