TL; DR: Lipstick Agile — Happiness in the Trenches?
Have you noticed how many people in the agile field are unhappy with their work situation — caught in a lipstick agile situation where an organization already struggles doing agile? (Not to mention ‘becoming agile.’)
Scrum masters, and agile coaches who are close to either burnout or indifference. Product owners who “own” the product by name only, and developers who are questioning why Scrum a) skips all the practices that make XP work, and b) often turns out to be just another form of micromanagement.
Lipstick Agile Statements and Observations
Here is a list of my issues that made me not accept an offer in the past or started having second thoughts on being part of an organization:
- “How many teams can you handle at the same time — three or four?” (A prospective client.)
- “The availability of meeting rooms is a difficult topic here.” (There was no space at all available.)
- “We don’t need physical boards; we use Jira.” (“When you put problem in a computer, box hide answer. Problem must be visible!” Hideshi Yokoi, former President of the Toyota Production System Support Center in Erlanger, Kentucky, USA.)
- “Test automation does not work for us. We always test manually.” (A manager from a corporate QA silo w/o an engineering background.)
- “We deploy once a week so that the governance team has a chance to sign-off our work.” (The team created an excellent build pipeline and could deploy at will.)
- “As a Scrum Master, you will also report the performance metrics of the team to the project manager after each sprint.” (A prospective client.)
- “We can invest more in learning once we have delivered [the application] and proven our usefulness.” (Knowledge sharing as a reward.)
- “I think pair programming is a waste of resources. Remember, it is twice the work in half the time.” (Thank you, Mr. Sutherland, for not pointing at the fine-print so every business guy gets it wrong.)
- “Why would you include the developers in the user interviews? They are supposed to write code. The business analysts can do the talking.”
- “We need to meet numbers and deadline. That’s more important than living up to some fancy initiatives of the C-level like ‘becoming agile.’”
- “We know what we need to build, talking to users is a distraction.”
- Observation: Stakeholders do not participate in ceremonies, for example, sprint reviews. Never.
- Observation: Stickies on a physical board seem to have been aligned with a bubble level. (A prospective client, looking for a dedicated, full-time scrum master for a team comprising of five people.)
What has made you reconsider your job situation in the past?