Why Erik Meijer is wrong and Scrum is bad

I just watched this entertaining talk by Erik Meijer. His main point is this: “Agile is a cancer that we have to eliminate from the industry", “We are developers. We write code.”

It's funny because throughout the talk Erik confuses Agile with Scrum and TDD. Let me break down for you how he misses the point.

Why Erik is wrong

Agile is about constantly looking for improvements in how we work. If the process gets in your way, you change it!

It doesn't mean writing tests is wrong or standup-meetings are inherently bad. They can be very useful at times - it depends on the situation and what your goals are. If it doesn't work for you, don't do it. That is Agile!

The Agile Manifesto:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

In his talk Erik compares software development with war-fighting, so I'll counter with a mantra adopted by the United States Marine Corps:

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

That sounds pretty agile to me.

Scrum is bad

Erik does have a point; methodologies like Scrum and TDD seem to be more focused on following the process itself than getting the job done. That is not Agile!

And, yes, there are companies selling Scrum as the snake-oil that will fix your development team. No methodology will magically turn bad developers into good ones.

Homework

As a service to Erik and everyone else, I've copied the Twelve Principles of Agile Software into this post. Read it.

We follow these principles:

- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

- Working software is the primary measure of progress.

- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

- Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.

- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

At Cutehacks we are constantly learning, adapting and improving - so we can deliver value for our customers. Agile!