I worked as a consultant for 3 years doing Agile Development (yeah, I used caps for emphasis), then I worked at ThoughtWorks for 2.5 years doing Agile and coaching clients in Agile Methodologies. It was great and empowering as a developer.
Before ThoughtWorks, there was a large software company creating applications for municipal energy cooperatives and a large supplemental health insurance company, then about five clients while I was with ThoughtWorks. All of them were impressed with the real efficiencies that agile development techniques — properly implemented — provide.
Now I’m working at a large mortgage lending institution in southern California.
Today, a demand came that the project I’m working on produce a technical specification for a process that we don’t really know, and to document a solution that we haven’t demonstrated is a real solution other than theoretically. Why? Because someone is pressuring the BAs for these documents without regard for their value (or lack thereof).
I think it’s pretty clear that there is really no value in the the specific documents that are being requested (after a little pushback, it became a request and not so much of a demand). It’s classic CYA.
I will be doing everything I can to demonstrate to those who really count, that the only real measure of successful development projects is, surprise!, working software that satisfies their requirements.
I’m all for standards. We will be using the .NET tools that are mandated (and some that are better).
We will demonstrate that we have excellent test coverage (and good depth of coverage too).
We will practice the art of simplicity — ‘the art of maximizing the amount of work not done.’ (that’s straight from the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto) — so that we complete our assignments without wasting time on features we won’t need.
I only hope that they — all of the non-believers — finally get it, at least to the point that we can do our jobs and feel empowered, like before.
It is frustrating having to plow the same ground again, but I guess it’s another example of The Dip. I could quit, but I believe that the rewards of not quitting will be worth it.