PragmaticAndy Burns Down the House

I've been a software developer throughout the "Agile Revolution."  My first team lead, back in 2001 said these words to me and I've always taken them to heart:
I think the world's pretty done with us [Software Developers].  I feel like we've got about 5 years to get our act together or that's it.
Apropos, that same year a highly influential group of practitioners signed the Agile Manifesto.   Amid waves of Dot-Com-Bubble-Bursting, offshoring, and right-sizing, they kept it simple:  Here's what works; apply liberally.

That was 14 years ago.  In the intervening time, much like Protestantism after Luther, factions emerged:  eXtreme Programming, Scrum, Kanban, Scaled Agile Framework.  Characteristically, 25-year-old me thought these were all leaps forward.   At 36-and-a-half, my cynicism grows: I've seen Agile roll-out to 1000+ developers in 2 world-wide organization across different corporate and civic cultures.  I'll gladly replace Sisyphus rolling the rock uphill in Hades before I'd do it again.

Apparently I'm not alone:  Yesterday, Andy Hunt--one of those very signatories--took his football and went home.

* * *

Okay...now what?

Maybe before we jump into something else--a Trademarked name already, and a .com!--we ought to take some time to grieve and reexamine, lest the next thing be worse that what's ending.

For my part:

  • I like making clients happy, whether that's the guy in the next cube or a customer 12 timezones away.  It's validating.
  • Sometimes to do that, you need a spec (a contract), sometimes you need a conversation.  Throwing specs away was naive, just as much as slavishly expecting spec == quality.  
  • I like demo'ing often and getting instant feedback from a client (or her designee).  
  • I like designing things before I code.  Sometimes.  I shouldn't be shouted down for that by someone invoking 'YAGNI' or 'BDUF' as magic talismans.
  • I like hacking together a PoC without much design.  Sometimes.
I want to make: 
  1. Software that works.
  2. Software that somebody finds useful.
  3. Software that doesn't get thrown away every 6 months.
Maybe GROWS (TM) [BLECH!] will end-up being a panacea.  Part of me genuinely hopes something works and gains adoption as "Standard Practice" so we can have solid standards in Software Engineering the way that Mechanical and Civil Engineers do.  I question whether I'll live to see that day.

The largest part of me couldn't care less.  I'd rather be coding.

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