As I was reading through a number of testing blogs, I kept seeing a theme in the people who were making these blog posts: they were all involved in some sort of software development framework, be it Scrum, or Kanban, or XP. So, as it appears to be a large part of the software development and also software testing industry, I decided to look into what people thought about it. It turns out that a lot of people are not huge fans of Agile (and especially Scrum).
Full disclosure – I am not a huge fan of Scrum, I think that it has a lot of holes in its principles that easily allow for managers (especially ones that don’t understand software development very well) to exploit developers or testers. In fact, this is so much of an issue in Scrum, that one of the original 17 signers of the Agile Manifesto (Ron Jeffries) wrote an article as to why developers should abandon Agile. His main point is that Agile has been co-opted by big business, with armies of Scrum managers and “Agile coaches” that have no experience being developers. They don’t understand the process, and therefore developers suffer. The original principles of Agile have been abandoned and replaced with miles and miles of red tape.
In another blog post by Alesia Krush, she compiles a number of articles and forum posts cataloging the shortcomings of Agile practices from a developer’s perspective. The issues aired there line up with what Jeffries was saying, that the people in the software development world feel as though Agile sets arbitrary goals, adds tons of red tape and hoops to jump through, and ultimately rushes developers through their work, making products worse not better. They remove the creativity and ingenuity that Agile is meant to foster. Sprint after sprint, with no meaningful time for reflection or planning.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t good things about Agile, but it needs some changes. Jeffries, one of the founders of XP (extreme programming), talks about how XP is a better system, and a number of other test blogs and dev blogs seems to believe this as well. I think that it looks like an definite improvement, and looks like it is much more focused on developer/tester wellbeing in the workplace. I think it is definetly something that should be looked into as a serious alternative for other Agile-framework systems. Overall, I just think that Agile has too many flaws, and after 20 years of testing in the field, it looks like we might want to recompile and try again.