Yet Another Hands Off My Agile Rant (YAHOMAR)

This post goes out to Erik Deitrich and his post entitled: “Agile Methodologies or Agile Software?” I have been informed and inspired by Erik’s writing over the past two years, and in this post he continues to deliver.

It’s a shame that so much consulting nonsense happens in our industry. I’m convinced it is because our job is both difficult and lucrative, dangerous yet immensely rewarding. In such an environment, the allure of an easy fix or a silver bullet is magnified.

It reminds me of gambling, treasure hunting, and even piracy. Crazy amounts of risk and uncertainty are the constant companions of the gambler, treasure hunter and the pirate. Those who learn to fail often without failing catastrophically are those who will end up on top. I credit Seth Godin in his latest book “Your Turn” for this thought.

Anybody selling something that promises a revolution in your software team, higher output in less time, better quality and happier programmers, is bound to attract the pointy haired boss. The trouble is, the pointy haired boss does not want to hear things like:

  • Give your developers 20% of their time to work on anything they want
  • Trust your developers when they tell you they need extra time to re-write that piece of the application
  • Pony up the dough for hip new CI servers, tools, and training
  • Get over yourself when they insist on co-located teams and paired programming practices

What the pointy haired boss wants to hear is that increased productivity and healthy culture can be had by buying certifications and spending shareholder funds on consulting fees.

Hopefully you’re still reading at this point, because I’m beginning to sound like that programmer who raves about how Agile is a cargo cult that exists only to milk the uninitiated and dimwitted crowd for that sweet, sweet certification money.

I am not that guy

One of my aspirations is to become a Profession Scrum Trainer. I absolutely adore Scrum and how it can be used to teach agility to hapless programmers, clueless project managers, and hot shot C.E.O.s stuck in the maddening world of crappy software development.

I was that hapless programmer not too long ago.
I’m saying what I’m saying because the thing I love is being attacked and exploited every day. Those who exploit it grow rich with disregard to the consequences. Those who attack it do so largely because of the trust vacuum left by those who exploit it…and it pisses me off.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah!
These are the things I have come to value as I learn to be a professional software developer:
Code winning arguments
Loving people and helping them get better
Craving team success and unity of vision
Courageously changing what needs to be changed

Keeping my eye on the guy behind the keyboard i.e. the user

When I can make these things happen, I jump out of bed in the morning. When I don’t feel like I can, I seriously consider cancelling my internet connection and becoming an artisanal cheese maker.


Jason is a developer, Scrum Master, writer, teacher, coach, husband, father, and community leader out of Tulsa Oklahoma. He's been delivering software since 2007 and absolutely loves the values and principles of agility especially as given form by the Scrum framework.