It sounds to me like they didn't value software. It was seen as a necessity and as an unfortunate cost centre that was unavoidable in persuing their core source of profit. My first guess would have to be investment banking.
Question is... Would the same company have been any different if using the waterfall paradigm? Would the politics have been less pervasive, would they not have micro-managed quite so much? Would any of your reported problems be improved in any way whatsoever?
If not, then the problem really wasn't with agile. It was with a company adopting a bunch of non-agile practices, naming them agile, and then wondering why that pathetic and futile rebranding effort (without any real change) wasn't yielding the massive promised productivity gains that someone had used to sell them on the idea of agile.
On 29 June[masked]:25, John Summers <[address removed]>
Interesting point, Alexander.
Everything seems so pro-Agile in the industry these days that nobody seems brave enough to nail their counterpoint to the cathedral doors.
Sadly the second-last experience I had of Agile was quite unpleasant. It was warped into a mechanism to micro-manage and interfere with developers. The daily stand-up turned into an hour-long meeting (yes, per day) where the project manager would grill everyone and ask for precise breakdowns of what they had done and what they would "commit" to getting done that day.
The workrate was based off 8 hours per day of work. Of course forgetting that the meeting alone took 7. Also forgetting that developers need to do such things as:
- help their team mates
- talk to their team mates (yes, actually have conversations and build relationships)
- respond to huge volumes of emails (which easily could take an hour a day)
- respond to occasional production support calls
- go get a coffee
- eat snacks
- take a dump
When we suggested that the *true* workrate per day was in fact more like 5 hours the manager went purple and started ranting. "You are PAID FOR EIGHT HOURS WORK!!" he would scream.
The end result was a sad state of affairs divided into two phases. In the first phase developers went cut-throat and would not help each other for fear of losing time, thus tasks in general took a lot longer and the net result across the team was everything took twice as long. In the second phase we all learned to simply grotesquely inflate all our estimates by a factor of two or three, to give us time to do all the things in the list above. If we ended up with spare time... then for goodness sake keep quiet or your 'esimating ability' would be questioned and a Mao-style self criticism would follow.
Oh, and half the team was offshore in India and seemed not to give a flying shit about anything.
I am well aware that this is *NOT* how Agile is supposed to work but I just wanted to raise the point (and hopefully invoke a few giggles in the process) that Agile in the wrong hands can be a very effective system of making developers lives hell.
Have a good day,
From: [address removed]
To: [address removed]
Subject: [ljc] University vs Real Life Industry Work
Date: Thu, 28 Jun[masked]:03:03 -0400
Is there anyone else who thinks that Industry work is just about following
processes "agile daily standup, the whole day managers don't communicate
with the developers cause they are too busy doing meetings and then
in the morning they ask what you worked on, (whats the point?),
why even bother telling them what you did since they don't have a
technical enough understanding of the issues a programmer faces,
to me the daily standup seems just a way of scrum masters (who mostly
have not coded in 10 years/ some have never coded in their lifes
and then they say that seems long why does it take so long to complete the task
how can they say that if they have not written one line of code in their lifes)
to control developers.
Furthermore developers need to put up a facade to managers
that they worked on a boring task such as replacing tag libraries
and they make it sound like a lot of work in the daily standup just to look
good in front of managers in their annual performance reviews.
I've been industry for 3 years now and the longer I stay the more I feel like
I want to start my own company although it is risk cause of money etc.
Is this why so many developers start their own companies?
University seemed so much more interesting than real life as
one could focus on topics that were interesting such as machine learning,
artificial intelligence, data mining, distributed systems and it fosters
a much more creative environment where research is possible because
there are no managers who try to control everything you do therefore
not allowing you to be a creative thinker which in my view is what makes
software development interesting in the first place.
Thanks any views appreciated.