I never said it was evil. I never questioned that scrum and the other methodologies were well-intentioned and meant to solve real problems.

Just to make sure we're not talking past each other,the goal of my advocacy is presented here


This is not a long article but since we're conversing I want you to understand that I have reasons for the views I have that go beyond mere contrariness.

The more I am inhibited from concentrating, the less work I get done and the more frustrated I am.

The methodologies became the workplace standard in the late 2000s; when my manager at Microsoft (the guy who a few weeks later made me pair program) told me about TDD I literally made sure there was a clear path to the xit because he sounded like a lunatic. The flaws in the idea are deep and fundamental and the more I hear from its uh passionate advocates the lower my opinion goes. I wrote about that here


First of all I have always regarded a recurring meeting as a red flag, indicative of bad management. At Intel tro be able to controls others' time with meetings was akin to a superpower, second only to kilograms of unread printouts in their wastebaskets.

Combining these: my last gig in the USA (I live in Vietnam now) was at a dying company that adopted scrum in our group; Hardly any of us worked on the same deliverables; I bore sole responsibility for the game installer so the state of my work had not effect on anyone else in the meeting, and the same was true for everyone. I had heretofore gotten to work at 10AM, which meant leaving the house at 9:30 and being able to drive at freeway speed.

With the daily scrum at 8:30 I had to leave at 7AM and drive in glacial traffic (the company was in Seattle, which has some of the worst traffic in the country), arriving often late after a 90 minute start-stop commute that had me weary and angry. To hear about "stories" and what was FAIAP the same as the status update I had always done in email. I asked that the meeting be moved to 10; I was frostily reminded that it was a morning standup. "We don't stand up, so what's so special about the first half of the name?" Nothing doing.

Didn't help that all the PMs played games on Facebook all day but in the scrum would use as much Agile Newspeak as they could manage to put on an appearance of being engaged. I learned nothing useful in these meetings, not ever. Those who collaborated on the same project could've had their own meeting.

And I'm a stickler for precision in speech and absolutely hated "stories." It felt like kindergarten, and still does.

As for TD; people now are telling me that their goddamn unit tests are more important than the product they're developing and if they don't have enough time it's better to cut corners on the code than on the tests. I think unit testing is too much work and has too little return on investment, and I refuse to cut corners in my work to do it faster. That feels like betrayal of my values. So I don't accumulate any need to revisit and fix or complete; I do it right, entirely right, the first time. Long before I prepended "senior" to my job title I could do six weeks of work without a single test and have everything work as soon as the last piece was finished. Because I could concentrate.

If that is, I am allowed to work without being interrupted to attend some meeting that we are only holding because it's that time of that weekday.

And by the way, I don't get the "value" thing. A lot of aficionados say that in the past we wrote code that was of no value to the company. I have never had that experience except in one instance where I added a case-insensitive flag to a string comparison that we would never use. That was, wow, like 20 wasted seconds.

My bottom line: let me work without interruptions. I absolutely don't want a daily meeting, I don't want any recurring meetings save the one per week that I had in 1989 and in 2019. Design sessions? Bring it on! Collaboration between our components? Absolutely! Code walkthroughs? Mentoring? Can do.

As for keeping up with the state of others' work, I review every commit on the project in GitKraken so I have some sense of the, if I may coin a phrase, Big Picture.

Anyway all this is academic for me now; I am not working at a Vietnamese company (they smoke) and I am not working onsite ever again. And at 66 I can quit anytime I want

Written by

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

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