The nightmare world of Agile we created

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably noticed that many software development teams got stuck in a swamp of “agile” tools, useless processes and bloated frameworks. In their search for higher productivity, they forgot the importance of real human interaction and technical excellence.

Corporate managers and employees are conservative and avoid experiments if they can. This is why they’ve chosen a permanent position. It’s easiest to get them when they are already in trouble: Not during an obligatory training but later when it’s time to deliver, money is running out and everything is about to explode. Desperately trying to make them understand without a real need ends in disappointment and lost opportunities, like in many relationships. Division of labor abstracts us all away from the actual problems we are solving. Even the best coach can’t change a billion dollar corporation.

Honestly, what can you expect? When companies start doing “Scrum” because it seems fashionable, it will most likely end up being just another process. Agility emerges from technical excellence, the desire to improve and an attitude that values humans. You can’t teach that in a two-day workshop. Fair enough.

I can’t blame freelancers who conduct a workshop with potentially disappointing results, probably not even when they call it coaching. Our industry is full of nonsense. Nobody should feel guilty for this when McKinsey is charging a fortune for providing similar services to major corporations and governments worldwide. Like 2000 bucks a day for an intern that reads stuff from PowerPoint slides (I know the person).

Now enjoy this excerpt from a job description I received recently:

The processes (SCRUM) must be taken into account and a regular exchange with the SCRUM Master is required […] according to the agile methods by pulling tasks resulting from user stories […] Jira is used as a tool.

Welcome to reality. To quote Martin Fowler, this is the “nightmare world of agile” we created by taking the money of businesses. Most jobs are a nightmare anyways and we’re not going to change it by selling certificates and tools.

If you are in the right position, you can change how a startup works within weeks. But it’s a never ending process. Learning by doing. Implement feedback loops and see what happens. Not something you learn once and then repeat like a robot. Most of our economy and the people who work there are not like that, at least not yet. They need time. And they are still willing to spend their money without being ready for real change. Maybe this is not what we wanted, but change starts with acceptance of what is.