I read the reply to my comment on a popular hacker board with sadness:
(disclaimer: Agile consultants ruined the software group I work in.) Making good software is hard, and anyone claiming to have a magical process that guarantees good software is selling snake oil. I can appreciate your wanting to make a buck, but would also seriously appreciate it if you could find some other industry besides software development to go screw up
Reminded me of an email I received back in May:
[We] started working on [agile technique X] when [author]’s [famous book] was just a draft. I was on that project and worked on Agile Projects for a decade. (Next time you meet [famous guy], ask about me, I just finished reviewing his forthcoming [another famous book]). I am a founding member of the Agile Society of [place] and have organized conferences on Agile. I’ve attended XP Conf as well. I’ve probably worked in more agile projects than you ever have (not that it particularly matters). So let us first dispense with the notion that your notion of what constitutes “true” agile and its scamsters is somehow the only standard….
Do you deny that the whole Scrum Master idea is a scam within the Agile Camp?
Scamster? Ron Jeffries the guru/founder of Agile couldn’t write a Sudoku implementation with his favorite technique “TDD” and refactoring over five weeks. Fraud.
Robert Martin (another “guru” and agile consultant) claims that any code not written with TDD is “stone age ” code including such things as Unix and such people as Norvig and Linus and Zawinski who’ve built more code than he can dream of. Dalke poked holes in his TDD “kata” which never got answered Fraud.
I could go on and on. And these are the gurus. But that isn’t the point. i *saw* “agile consultants” evolve from some naive but well meaning people (like Kent) to scamsters
like X and co and tose are just at the top. Practically every single “Scrum MAster” is a fraud. The more intelligent among them admit that two days of listening to a higher level shyster teach nothing and it is just a signal to dumb managers to improve their chances of getting a project. Yet they go along. That in my eyes is a scam like chiroproctors or reiki people claiming to be doctors. Agile was amovement founded by scamsters and propagated mostly by scamsters.
I’ve had many such conversations over the years. There are some seriously pissed off people about Agile out there. Why? Isn’t agile supposed to be warmth, apple pie, motherhood, goodness and all of that? Why so much anger?
The easy answer – and the answer most agile-lovers would give – is that these folks are simply non-hackers. Bad attitude, poor skills, interpersonal conflicts – the reasons are many and diverse as to why a small percentage of folks are just going to get ticked off at anything you try to do.
I don’t accept that. Or rather, while it may be true, it is also an excuse for non-action. I view every piece of feedback as a cause for some kind of action.
And the thing is, it’s not just the people who are being trained. I’ve done my fair share of complaining about various pieces of agile, and I’ve seen many other coaches – in private – grumble and complain as well.
So it’s time to get honest. Take a good look at ourselves.
Here are the problems I see and hear about:
* Fake success stories – People think they can take some lame project that’s mostly done, apply a little agile, then proclaim how great it was? Come on, folks, this isn’t fooling anybody.