Forget agile, just write the damn code
Dutch programming legend Erik Meijer, known for his collaboration on C#, Visual Basic, LINQ, Volta and .NET, made an series of scathing criticisms of the agile ‘cancer’ at the Reaktor Dev Day in Helsinki.
“Agile is a cancer that we need to eliminate from the industry.”
Alright, Erik Meijer, you certainly know how to start a good rant. Now that you’ve got our attention, do tell us what the big problem is with agile (probably the most lauded and established methodologies in IT – after YOLO-Driven Development, of course).
“Standups are the worst thing ever invented.”
Too many developers are wasting their time talking about code, and not writing enough of it, claims Meijer as he struts the stage at Reaktor Dev Day in Helsinki. Like some 90s music radio claim, Meijer wants ‘less talk, more code.’
But not only is agile wasting our time, it’s apparently also a way to turn you and me into machines.
At best, Scrum’s (in)famous standup meetings are an annoying interruption. In the worst-case scenario, Meijer claims they’re a subtle mechanism of control used by management to give the illusion of self-organization. In spite of agile’s original intentions, it seems managers are still in charge.
Agile sheep everywhere, Erik Meijer wants you to take the red pill and wake up from your pretend flat hierarchies and fake scrum master role, because it’s all “part of a big pyramid scheme,” says Meijer. “You are being fucked! We are being abused by our managers,” Meijer barks.
“We are developers. We write code.”
Meijer even goes so far as to question the infallibility of Test-Driven Development. “No! Not TDD,” you say? Yes, TDD. Why? Because it fails to anticipate problems that actually occur in production. Instead, Meijer proposes an approach whereby software is quickly made ready in order that problems can immediately be taken care of as soon as they emerge.
With radical beyond-the-Matrix thought like that, there’s no surprise that Meijer was soon met with equally hefty criticism for colouring outside the lines. IT blogger Nic Ferrier, for example – he might not be the biggest fan of Scrum, but he says that agile methods are not to blame. The problem is the inability of programmers and managers to communicate properly and understand one another.
There are two sorts of people in the world right now who are fucking up the production of software. The first, people who have no clue about software, is still the larger group. The second though is experienced programmers so focussed on programming they can’t see the world around them. Erik Meijer’s latest diatribe against agile puts him firmly in the second group.
Meijer certainly isn’t the first person to rant about inefficiency of agile. Since its introduction in 2001, the methodology has been criticised as being stubbornly rigid, inefficient and a management fad.
Meijer’s most convincing point about agile, is that its success is also be the ultimate cause of its doom. In fact, Dave Thomas, one of the founding fathers of agile, sees it the same way. According to Thomas, the word ‘agile’ was flung around IT offices to such a degree that it ultimately became meaningless. Ever since, agile has been a playground for consultants and third parties to market their products and services.
Let’s put it another way: what’s currently being talked about as agile, has less and less to do with what was once proclaimed in the original Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Whether or not agile is a cancer of IT, this might be the one thing we can all agree on.