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I was previously the Technical Director for EVE Online at CCP Games in Iceland. Before that, I worked as a Senior Technical Artist at BioWare Austin on Star Wars: The Old Republic. I am the author of Practical Programming in Autodesk Maya. I also founded Rob is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 53 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Why Agile Became Meaningless

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Uncle Bob recently wrote a post about The True Corruption of Agile. I think it will be a defining post for me because, as I’ll explain in my next post, I’m ready to give up on Agile. It has become meaningless due to the corruption Uncle Bob describes, and trying to reclaim Agile isn’t possible.

Imagine the Lean movement without Toyota. Toyota is the guiding force in Lean because it grew out the The Toyota Way.* When Lean goes awry, Toyota- the company and its principles, practices, and culture- is there to set things straight.

Toyota can guide Lean because the company has been successful for decades and Toyota attributes its success to the principles and practices known as The Toyota Way. But for many years, Toyota’s success was explained away by anything except the Toyota principles. Finally, all that was left was The Toyota Way. Toyota is the Lean reference implementation.

Agile has no such entity. Instead, we have hundreds of “Agile” shops who attribute success to some (non-)Agile practices. Then, once they’ve evangelized their (non-)Agile stories, reality catches up with them and the success disappears.** But no one hears anything about that failure. The corruption and perversion here is inevitable.

Without a company like Toyota giving birth to Agile and showing others how to do it right, Agile was destined to become what it is now: meaningless and corrupt.

*: The Toyota Way started out as the Toyota Production System. They aren’t technically the same but for the purposes of this post there’s no reason to distinguish.

**: For example, maybe InnoTech decides to use Scrum on a global scale to ship an ambitious product, and talks a lot about how they pulled this off and what benefits it yielded. Years later, velocity is in the toilet because the endless mountains of technical debt created, and maybe the company has had layoffs. The Scrum transformation will be in a book or on a stage. The layoffs or technical debt will not.


Published at DZone with permission of Rob Galanakis, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Ivanhoe Abrahams replied on Fri, 2014/04/11 - 9:47am

I Absolutely agree.

Ive been scrumming and agiling since 2008 and Ive been writing software for 20 years professionally. Trust me Agile is certainly worse than the previous processes like RUP or other.

I for one can say that Agile and Scrum creates enormous amounts of technical debt... it creates a whole layer of new role players who did not exist previously (scrum masters) and waste time playing scrum card games or even fancy dice throwing games (ANYBODY?), I even played a kind of monopoly game once as part of our does not respect differences in people and it certainly does not promote innovation.  And when things go wrong ... it is always because we don't do scrum right and are made to feel like we (the devs) are doing things wrong on a process level and thats why our software is failing..... FAMILIAR?

The good parts (Iterative cycles ... but NOT at all cost, early raising of red flags and TDD) must stay... although they are all borrowed parts. 

An attempt to turn development(and I specifically refer to problem solving and the creative process) into an assembly line process is bound to fail. 

I say let the cancer grow and feed itself to death, I will come back to IT once its dead.

VIVA innovation, give power back to the developers... let the MBAs go and fix the problem of digging war trenches in another sector.. they have messed up IT good... we might seem stupid... but trust me we are not.

My 2 cents .. enjoy :-)

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