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why do people say agile when they mean waterfall

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  • Theresa Jayne Forster
    So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the job. I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET So, every day we would have a
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 11, 2012
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      So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the job.



      I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET



      So, every day we would have a stand up, where the project manager would
      hand out tasks and move stuff on the wall (the only person allowed to do and
      only at the stand up) which would last 15 -30 minutes.



      We had to follow a specific predefined way of doing things and create
      copious documentation including Full technical specs for "iteration 4" that
      included complete design specifications with full estimates which will be
      used.



      Iteration 4 was just what the company agreed to deliver by the end of the
      year, and there was no discussion or input from the development team, The
      only people who were at the meeting with the client was the BA/Project
      Manager and it sounds like they just nodded their head and did what the
      client wanted.



      So my question is,



      Is there anything that can be done to correctly "agile up" a company that
      pretends to do agile in this manner?



      Theresa



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • James Grenning
      I think you did one of the things. You left :-) ... James Grenning Author of TDD for Embedded C www.renaissancesoftware.net
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 11, 2012
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        I think you did one of the things. You left :-)

        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        James Grenning Author of TDD for Embedded C
        www.renaissancesoftware.net http://pragprog.com/titles/jgade/
        www.renaissancesoftware.net/blog
        www.twitter.com/jwgrenning
        On Nov 12, 2012, at 1:11 AM, Theresa Jayne Forster wrote:

        > So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the job.
        >
        > I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET
        >
        > So, every day we would have a stand up, where the project manager would
        > hand out tasks and move stuff on the wall (the only person allowed to do and
        > only at the stand up) which would last 15 -30 minutes.
        >
        > We had to follow a specific predefined way of doing things and create
        > copious documentation including Full technical specs for "iteration 4" that
        > included complete design specifications with full estimates which will be
        > used.
        >
        > Iteration 4 was just what the company agreed to deliver by the end of the
        > year, and there was no discussion or input from the development team, The
        > only people who were at the meeting with the client was the BA/Project
        > Manager and it sounds like they just nodded their head and did what the
        > client wanted.
        >
        > So my question is,
        >
        > Is there anything that can be done to correctly "agile up" a company that
        > pretends to do agile in this manner?
        >
        > Theresa
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • M. Manca
        ... In my professional life I applied this simple rule: if there is something wrong with the way in which I am asked to work for a company I try to change the
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 12, 2012
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          Il 12/11/2012 08:11, Theresa Jayne Forster ha scritto:
          >
          >
          > So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the job.
          >
          > I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET
          >
          > So, every day we would have a stand up, where the project manager would
          > hand out tasks and move stuff on the wall (the only person allowed to
          > do and
          > only at the stand up) which would last 15 -30 minutes.
          >
          > We had to follow a specific predefined way of doing things and create
          > copious documentation including Full technical specs for "iteration 4"
          > that
          > included complete design specifications with full estimates which will be
          > used.
          >
          > Iteration 4 was just what the company agreed to deliver by the end of the
          > year, and there was no discussion or input from the development team, The
          > only people who were at the meeting with the client was the BA/Project
          > Manager and it sounds like they just nodded their head and did what the
          > client wanted.
          >
          > So my question is,
          >
          > Is there anything that can be done to correctly "agile up" a company that
          > pretends to do agile in this manner?
          >
          In my professional life I applied this simple rule: if there is
          something wrong with the way in which I am asked to work for a company I
          try to change the way to work, if this is not possible... I simply leave
          the company (as you did so... well done!).
          >
          >
          > Theresa
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Ashish Mahajan
          There can be 2 things that can be done : 1. Change the company Or 2. Change the company You did the second!which is most of the people do when they have
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 12, 2012
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            There can be 2 things that can be done :

            1. Change the "company"
            Or
            2. "Change" the company

            You did the second!which is most of the people do when they have little or no power to influence the org structure or practices and orgs are resistant to change.


            Cheers!

            Ashish
            Sent from my BlackBerry� smartphone

            -----Original Message-----
            From: "Theresa Jayne Forster" <theresajayne@...>
            Sender: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 07:11:56
            To: <extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com>
            Reply-To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [XP] why do people say agile when they mean waterfall

            So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the job.



            I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET



            So, every day we would have a stand up, where the project manager would
            hand out tasks and move stuff on the wall (the only person allowed to do and
            only at the stand up) which would last 15 -30 minutes.



            We had to follow a specific predefined way of doing things and create
            copious documentation including Full technical specs for "iteration 4" that
            included complete design specifications with full estimates which will be
            used.



            Iteration 4 was just what the company agreed to deliver by the end of the
            year, and there was no discussion or input from the development team, The
            only people who were at the meeting with the client was the BA/Project
            Manager and it sounds like they just nodded their head and did what the
            client wanted.



            So my question is,



            Is there anything that can be done to correctly "agile up" a company that
            pretends to do agile in this manner?



            Theresa



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Jonathan Harley
            An associate of mine has the Three Es : Educate, Eradicate, Evacuate. Educate those you can to change the situation. If you still have resisters, try to have
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 12, 2012
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              An associate of mine has the "Three Es": Educate, Eradicate, Evacuate.

              Educate those you can to change the situation. If you still have
              resisters, try to have them removed from the situation (eradicate).
              Finally, failing the first two, there's nothing else to do but what you
              did..

              I hope the pain of doing so is short-lived.

              Best - Jon

              On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 4:00 AM, M. Manca <m.manca@...>wrote:

              > **
              >
              >
              > Il 12/11/2012 08:11, Theresa Jayne Forster ha scritto:
              >
              > >
              > >
              > > So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the
              > job.
              > >
              > > I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET
              > >
              > > So, every day we would have a stand up, where the project manager would
              > > hand out tasks and move stuff on the wall (the only person allowed to
              > > do and
              > > only at the stand up) which would last 15 -30 minutes.
              > >
              > > We had to follow a specific predefined way of doing things and create
              > > copious documentation including Full technical specs for "iteration 4"
              > > that
              > > included complete design specifications with full estimates which will be
              > > used.
              > >
              > > Iteration 4 was just what the company agreed to deliver by the end of the
              > > year, and there was no discussion or input from the development team, The
              > > only people who were at the meeting with the client was the BA/Project
              > > Manager and it sounds like they just nodded their head and did what the
              > > client wanted.
              > >
              > > So my question is,
              > >
              > > Is there anything that can be done to correctly "agile up" a company that
              > > pretends to do agile in this manner?
              > >
              > In my professional life I applied this simple rule: if there is
              > something wrong with the way in which I am asked to work for a company I
              > try to change the way to work, if this is not possible... I simply leave
              > the company (as you did so... well done!).
              >
              > >
              > >
              > > Theresa
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Charlie Poole
              Yes, but you have to buy the company first. :-) Charlie On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Theresa Jayne Forster
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 12, 2012
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                Yes, but you have to buy the company first. :-)

                Charlie


                On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Theresa Jayne Forster <
                theresajayne@...> wrote:

                > **
                >
                >
                > So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the job.
                >
                > I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET
                >
                > So, every day we would have a stand up, where the project manager would
                > hand out tasks and move stuff on the wall (the only person allowed to do
                > and
                > only at the stand up) which would last 15 -30 minutes.
                >
                > We had to follow a specific predefined way of doing things and create
                > copious documentation including Full technical specs for "iteration 4" that
                > included complete design specifications with full estimates which will be
                > used.
                >
                > Iteration 4 was just what the company agreed to deliver by the end of the
                > year, and there was no discussion or input from the development team, The
                > only people who were at the meeting with the client was the BA/Project
                > Manager and it sounds like they just nodded their head and did what the
                > client wanted.
                >
                > So my question is,
                >
                > Is there anything that can be done to correctly "agile up" a company that
                > pretends to do agile in this manner?
                >
                > Theresa
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Phlip
                On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Theresa Jayne Forster ... Woah. That s certainly never (cough) happened to me. I m going to write my latest experience up
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 12, 2012
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                  On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Theresa Jayne Forster
                  <theresajayne@...> wrote:

                  > So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the job.

                  Woah. That's certainly never (cough) happened to me. I'm going to
                  write my latest experience up parallel to yours.

                  > I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET

                  Python + Django (which, by itself, is fall-off-a-log easy). Everyone
                  knew better than to call the situation "Agile", but everyone had
                  worked very hard - a little TOO hard - to tune and perfect a
                  bullet-proof, ultra-high-volume build system. The result worked like
                  ...

                  http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?BigAgileUpFront

                  ... including fun like a 10 minute test run for a very tiny project.

                  > So, every day we would have a stand up, where the project manager would
                  > hand out tasks and move stuff on the wall (the only person allowed to do and
                  > only at the stand up) which would last 15 -30 minutes.

                  Right. One point of XP is to provide checks and balances across team &
                  individual abilities. And yet even the closest project to XP I ever
                  worked screwed up the Planning Game.

                  Managers just can't let go of the idea they must dispense orders to
                  individual work units. And, of course, managers should inform the work
                  units how long they expect each task to take.

                  Those attitudes cause unbelievable friction, which some engineers
                  handle better than others. Violating the Planning Game, like that,
                  divorces Authority from Responsibility.

                  > We had to follow a specific predefined way of doing things and create
                  > copious documentation including Full technical specs for "iteration 4" that
                  > included complete design specifications with full estimates which will be
                  > used.

                  Right; the burden of producing the specification grows greater than
                  actually cutting code. But you are "not allowed" to cut code, because
                  you don't have the specification yet. This is another example of
                  "illusion of control", where managers think they are helping the code,
                  but they are really steeping it in the products of their fears. And,
                  of course, some people might be better at coding than e-paperwork.

                  In my case, with a recent project, we had a different e-paperwork
                  burden. Instead of pair programming, everyone submits code to a
                  two-tier system. If everyone reviews the code changes in the first
                  tier, it commits to its final home in the second tier.

                  If someone dislikes the code in the first tier (or if they just feel
                  chatty) they can add notes to it, which email automatically back to
                  the author. This review system resembles pairing, except that A> too
                  many cooks review the broth, and B> verbal communication is highest
                  quality.

                  My specific problem was with a manager who insisted on turning the
                  slightest misunderstanding into a cascade of redundant, divergent
                  lecturing about everything under the sun. This lead to a very
                  disturbing "thread mode" in the review system, and made focusing back
                  on a winning code solution extremely hard. And, of course, any
                  problems the review system caused were just taken as evidence it was
                  working, and preventing wayward programming!

                  I spent three months at that job writing about 3 features; I've
                  written 3x the amount of code (with review, and unit tests, and
                  steadily improving design) in about 3 weeks at my current job.

                  > Iteration 4 was just what the company agreed to deliver by the end of the
                  > year, and there was no discussion or input from the development team, The
                  > only people who were at the meeting with the client was the BA/Project
                  > Manager and it sounds like they just nodded their head and did what the
                  > client wanted.

                  The Planning Game - and everything else - are supposed to alleviate
                  these dominance issues.

                  > Is there anything that can be done to correctly "agile up" a company that
                  > pretends to do agile in this manner?

                  Like James Grenning said, hitting the silk is a perfectly reasonable
                  strategy. Some teams are, indeed, trying. (Like my former colleagues
                  certainly were!) And some teams cater to managers with special needs.

                  Could you list any agile practices the team was doing, and how well
                  they did them? Stuff like TDD, daily deployment, etc?

                  --
                  Phlip
                  http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand
                • strazhce
                  Customer s environment has some history. So I would ask why do they use agile terms, how that happened. And have an honest talk about what you expect to be
                  Message 8 of 8 , Nov 19, 2012
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                    Customer's environment has some history. So I would ask why do they use agile terms, how that happened. And have an honest talk about what you expect to be agile environment when you apply for the job with agile in the title and what you see in reality.

                    Remember, It is not your responsibility to change the customer. You were hired for something else. So you can breath freely :-)

                    Oleg

                    --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Theresa Jayne Forster" <theresajayne@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > So, I just left my last company after only 1 and a half months in the job.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > I was hired as a Senior Developer Agile C#/VB.NET
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > So, every day we would have a stand up, where the project manager would
                    > hand out tasks and move stuff on the wall (the only person allowed to do and
                    > only at the stand up) which would last 15 -30 minutes.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > We had to follow a specific predefined way of doing things and create
                    > copious documentation including Full technical specs for "iteration 4" that
                    > included complete design specifications with full estimates which will be
                    > used.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Iteration 4 was just what the company agreed to deliver by the end of the
                    > year, and there was no discussion or input from the development team, The
                    > only people who were at the meeting with the client was the BA/Project
                    > Manager and it sounds like they just nodded their head and did what the
                    > client wanted.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > So my question is,
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Is there anything that can be done to correctly "agile up" a company that
                    > pretends to do agile in this manner?
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Theresa
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
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