Agile: Where Developers Go To Die

I recently stumbled across Why “Agile” and especially Scrum are terrible on Twitter. This is the first time I have found someone who shares my dislike for the SCRUM/Sprint/Agile methodology for the same reasons as me. In the past, the reasons others have spouted included we are too rushed or the meetings waste time.  These are pretty poor reasons. They are subjective reasons. Meanwhile, the reasons Michael O. Church lays out in his post are very accurate and stand the test of reality – I have seen them in action in a number of places, the greatest of which is Moodle HQ.

Before Moodle HQ, I wasn’t a ‘7’, I may have been a ‘6’, at a stretch, if you focused solely on my frontend skills. During my time there I felt stuck doing meaningless atomized tasks that didn’t stretch me as a developer. While I was stuck, the world of web development was expanding at the fastest it has since I started my career, with releases like Angular, Polymer, Laravel, Node and Bootstrap 3, yet I was stuck using things stable technologies (Bootstrap 2 was the most exciting thing I got to use) in bite-size projects. I began to stagnate. Not because I was a bad developer, but because the work I was excited to do would take longer than a sprint, and couldn’t be atomized further. There is no creativity in fixing bugs.

Since leaving Moodle though, I have had the opportunity to work on new projects that take months, without having to hit milestones along the way, and it is liberating. I’ve had the time to master technologies, not just use them. I get to experiment with the latest things d3js, bootstrap 3 & 4, Gulp, Grunt, Polymer, and Angular, as well as some old but new-to-me technologies like C# and IIS.

Now, let me be clear, I don’t blame Moodle HQ for this, I blame the development methodology they use, but had I have stayed at Moodle much longer, I fear my career would have been over. I wasn’t learning much about the up coming technology there, and what little I did learn in my spare time was stuff that could apply to Moodle. Who wants to hire a developer who is still using old technologies when new ones sell so much better?

All in all SCRUM needs to die.