Sunday, June 22, 2014

SCRUM is NOT AGILE Software Development, sorry it's not

OK Doffuses listen up. No, this article is not for you software engineers with brains, it's for you catch phrase managers that think torturing dev teams with SCRUM is just peachy.  And worse, you think it's actually agile. pffft!

Sorry no can do wacko. SCRUM did not come from agile. It was not advocated by Scott Ambler, father of agile. SCRUM came from XP idiots who also advocated "pair programming" which meant, that every developer was to always have another person in their cube looking over their every move. Do you want to work like that? Really?

SCRUM takes a few good useful things, then puts gobs of claptrap and torture around them. For example, starting with "user stories". Well yah, in these here parts we call that a functional spec! SCRUM has sprints. I call them death marches. They are great for companies that wish to utterly burn out and exhaust their dev team and send them running for Facebook or Google. We used to call them releases and agile proposes release often. We don't need SCRUM death marches for that.  The only useful aspect of SCRUM is that the tooling like JIRA allows teams of developers to simply pull work off the a shared list. This actually simplifies project management and produces a pitching in. But SCRUM adds these 9am everyone huddle nonsense. I did one project like that for six months. It was a horrific nightmare under extreme stress.  Have I led daily meetings and crit path analysis and as a manager made sure there were no roadblocks to dev teams. Yes. For two weeks. In critical release times. Not as a standard. It burns people out. It's exhausting.

Here's what one engineer had to say about his experience :
"What you fear is EXACTLY what happened in our agency several years back. We sent a lot of developers and IT managers to agile training that so confused everyone with how to manage SCRUM, Sprints and other practices associated with agile, that our CIO actually created posters that he placed all over the shop with the word "agile" in middle with a big red circle with diagonal line through it and we have been stuck doing everything using Waterfall methodology ever since. A quote I often use that usually falls on deaf ears is "The aim of agile is not to DO agile, it is to BE agile!"

The next gobblygoo manager who thinks that to be agile they MUST do SCRUM OR conversely, that by doing SCRUM they somehow get agile, needs to be promptly rounded up and dealt with soviet style.

I have a new acronym. SCUM. It's where we make doofus MBA managers use JIRA and have 9am meetings every single day and then be forced to write 20 pages of excel spreadsheet financials. Yehp. Try that on for size rather than your doughnut break.

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely correct. "Agile/Scrum" killed the passion and intellectual rewards that came from being a Software Engineer. It made a beautiful profession become an "assembly line" job. After years in the field, I moved on to something else (my own small business) because of the Agile nonsense. I used to love programming ... but it became a micro-managed nightmare I had to flee from.