Pardon my candor but

  • fuck Agile
  • fuck Scrum
  • fuck TDD

This is where your burnout is coming from; layers of useless process, adding no value but keeping you from concentrating. It’s being able to concentrate that makes software development enjoyable.

Break for some stupid regularly-scheduled meeting? Focus is gone for the day. And with these stupid methodologies interruptions have multiplied every year.

For example the daily scrum is usually held in the morning, requiring everyone to get to work in rush hour traffic, tripling commute time. So the day not only begins with a completely useless meeting but with irritability and exhaustion. Try explaining this to managers.

Back when I started this work we had one meeting per week, an hour or less, and everyone in my group (we didn’t call them “teams”) was either a coder or had been one. Managers took our side, they protected us from time-wasters, we were explicitly instructed not to interrupt each other, we had single-occupancy offices.

We put in 12 hour days and loved it.

Now? PMs who do no work at all, scrum masters who have never coded, managers with MBAs who think a meeting is a productive use of time. They’re never canceled and they never let out early.

And the work? A ridiculous proliferation of languages, frameworks and technologies, and code is no more legible than it was a quarter century ago; it’s still cluttered and jagged and nearly impossible to read.

And for some reason we just accept this.

And most people who do code don’t really understand their work; they’re compulsive about speed optimization and since they can’t concentrate more than a few minutes without interruptions they write lousy code. But instead of demanding fewer interruptions they waste even more time writing useless unit tests and think that’s real work.

For me it all ended with a single three hour session of pair programming, which eleven years later I had to enter counseling to overcome. That stuff is sadism.

I won’t work onsite ever again. At my level of seniority I don’t have to but even if the company was across the street I would not work in an office, with all the noise and distractions.

Want to bring the joy back? Dump the methodologies and demand uninterrupted time. It really is that simple.

Written by

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

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