Did you ever read “1984?” The repressive Party was formed in the 1960s but was laying claim to the invention of ever-older technology, like the helicopter, and would soon be claiming to have invented aviation.

Agile and scrum make similarly preposterous claims, the big one being that they invented the idea of breaking complex projects into manageable pieces. They didn’t invent that. We did it thirty years ago and even Lotus 1–2–3, written by one man in assembly language, was divided into pieces. No agile, no scrum, no OOP, not even high-level languages. But part of the mythology of these fads, which is what they are, is that nothing good preceded them.

This big lie is just one of my problems with agile and scrum, which I make no effort to distinguish from one another since they are as conjoined as bullets and guns, along with that TDD horseshit.

The biggest issue I have with AS&T is that it takes us further away from what worked before: uninterrupted work. In 1989 that was management’s top priority and we loved it, we got much more work done, and higher quality work at that. We didn’t have to spend 70% of our time writing useless unit tests and we had one meeting per week.

This began to erode when Microsoft shareholders decided that single-occupancy offices weren’t the best way to maximize profit and so began doubling, tripling, quadrupling us up until an office was a 120 dB din of Indian languages over phones. More meetings, more org charts, more interruptions. More here:

But wait, there’s more.

Scrum masters don’t code. Program managers don’t code. Most managers have business degrees and think a meeting is a productive use of time (yeah, right) and that developers are overpaid menials who have a lot of gall asking to be allowed to work uninterrupted.

And the bullshit nomenclature. “Refactor” has no definite meaning; “technical debt” is BS for unfinished work, and “stories” makes our work sound like freaking kindergarten. I’m a student of the history of mathematics and inventing new nomenclature for non-new things always means someone is hoodwinking.

Nobody is saying “let’s return to what worked before”; everyone is saying “let’s write more tests” and “let’s have another meeting to discuss why we can’t get anything done.”

Our industry is falling apart. We used to love working at Microsoft; one of my friends does real estate in Redmond, has a lot of Microsoft clients, and tells me that nobody likes working there now.

I work from home, I will never work under any methodology, and I will never work in the hell that onsite has become.

We’ve talked before, you seem like a good guy and I know you believe in what you write about. But, honestly, we would all be better off if we went back to minimal process and interruptions.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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