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"Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes" -Edsger W. Dijkstra

Dark Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Dark Manifesto for Agile Software Development

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For those interested in answer a survey or questionnaire by Giancarlo Succi and Andrea Janes: http://darkagilemanifesto.org

Let me also post here my comments for further discussion:

Part 1

Do you think that instead of "We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it." people tend to adopt "We are uncovering the only ways of developing software teaching others."?

If “doing it” is removed then there are lesser chances to reflect, to inspect, and to adapt on the search for the specific business value —which often is a moving target— in a given context. Key parts of software development could be seen as epistemological endeavors; thus, if the empirical or experimental part is removed then the justification of a claim for an achieved business value could be dramatically diminished.

Do you think that instead of "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools" people tend to adopt "Individuals and interactions and not processes and tools"?

If the processes and tools do not help for better communication between individuals then those processes and tools should not be followed or used. Instead, an open dialog among practitioners should define proper processes and tools that help them to practice their values and professional principles.

Do you think that instead of "Working software over comprehensive documentation" people tend to adopt "Working software and not comprehensive documentation"?

The lack of a proper way to remember or to communicate relevant things to future or distant people is certainly a problem that should be solved in a project or product. That is a different problem than the problem of effort wasted in obscure and ineffective documents that nobody read. Besides, there is a plethora of recording technologies that could help to preserve and transmit relevant and valuable things about a project.

Do you think that instead of "Customer collaboration over contract negotiation" people tend to adopt "Customer collaboration and not contract negotiation"?

And for that matter: who, on the face of the Earth, is going to listen to the end-user?

Do you think that instead of "Responding to change over following a plan" people tend to adopt "Responding to change and not following a plan"?

If «a plan» no longer follows discovered and corroborated reality, then it is wise to make all sort of proactive adjustments or an entire new plan. The key to follow, of course, is not the outcome —a plan— but the frequent practice of planning. Conversely, blind reactions to whimsical moves, without awareness of the related costs, pave the path to diminished business value or business failure.

Do you think that instead of "That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more." people tend to adopt "That is, while since there is no value in the items on the right, we value only the items on the left."?

A part of the problem is a psychological pattern of neglected interpretation. It is not, of course, something exclusive of agile methods but it is a pervasive lack of education that permeates politics, economics, and many more spheres of society. The root cause is a very, very poor foundation in important areas of life, whereas it is called science, philosophy, history, mathematics, ethics, etc. In addition to that, the absolute reign of the hunt for short-term gratifications aggravates the odds to potential exits from the previous condition.

I am fully aware that a commercial interest in profits with software does not have an inherent responsibility to advance the state of the practice of the software development profession at the individual level, but it is not difficult to see that doing so is for the best of precisely that interest. Otherwise, an increasing number of consumers in the general public will start to not pay for software that does not deliver value fast and robustly.

The need for better software practices has been stated constantly, and yet, there is still way too much wishful thinking in our industry, mainly from non-practitioners, which persist in their lack of awareness about the long-term consequences.

What prevents us from learning a new concept is the preconception that usurps its place. See what Derek A. Muller has to say in the case of scientific concepts:

http://youtu.be/eVtCO84MDj8

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