Walking Skeletons

What is the Walking Skeleton?

The first pattern of walking skeleton was first described around 1994. The name walking skeleton was applied between the years of 1994 to 1997. During 1999, the correlation to the Increment Rearchitecture has been found out. It is in this year that the walking skeleton was implemented in the system. The walking skeleton idea evolved from the conversation of Alistair and the project’s lead designer. The designer converted and explained to him about the project.

He said that they should have a system that would keep them on track of conversation with the other technical lead. The connection in the system should be applied for them to be able to transmit a single message that will go around the ring to each of the members. Because of this, a sudden idea came into his mind. The process of making the functionality of walking skeleton took so slow. It takes more than 3 months before it actually employed to the end users. They were just fascinated to discover the functionality of the system. However, it’s still incomplete, limited agile and still missing flesh of the functional application.

How Walking Skeleton Function?

Walking Skeleton refers to the tiny implementation in the system that is programmed to perform a real end to end test that need not use the final architecture in the production. On the other hand, it must be linked to the major architectural components involved in the project. This prototype of walking skeletons typically works in order to maintain the development of possible risks encountered in the project.

This also triggers the identification of every possible risk as much as possible. This is why implementing the use of walking skeleton decreases the compensation in case a certain circumstance of problems take place. In addition, if ever your system need requires a talk in any of the data stores, then it is a reliable option to use walking skeleton in that matter. They can perform the simple query in any of the data stores and even conduct simple request in any of the internal and external services. It is the only skeleton application present in the system that can function in many different ways.

Even though their agile is limited only in a certain specific task, they could do well. The parts of the walking skeleton are connected and it could actually walk in a manner of like exercising the system parts. Because of their limited agile, they walk in a minimal condition. The walking skeleton is not a prototype of a sort and of course, not a type of concept. In order for them to function, you should definitely write a test in a form of production codes. It will assert them to accept a request, pushes an empty message to the queue or pushes some content to S3.


This prototype of walking skeleton has no functional capacity to work fast, it requires time to wait for them to function accordingly. This usually leads to consumption of time just waiting for their action. Furthermore, it requires time also in exercising the deployment of the walking skeleton in the system. It requires time in looking for the many possible potential problems. Even though they are just good looking, an instant result is not guaranteed.

— Slimane Zouggari