Process is not a product: the anti-manifest of software development methodology


Antimanifesto software development methodologies

– A process is not a product

– Leadership, not management

– Dialogue, not diktat

That’s all, you can think of the rest yourself, but if you want, keep reading.

Process is not a product

In my (very) long career in technology, I have experienced most software development methodologies, and this experience has shown me that they are more like a responsibility than a help. I will say more: it seems to me that the excess of methodology is much more dangerous than its lack. However, the cult of the One True Methodology continues to flourish, and it is worth pondering why this is so.

“If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him!”

I think one of the reasons is that many / most / all of us secretly suspect that we are doing everything wrong, and there is someone doing everything right; if we follow his advice, we will also do the right thing, and all erroneous estimates, bugs, bad code, etc., etc., will disappear.

No need to think so, they are not going anywhere.

Another reason is the economics of software development methodology. It looks like a wonderful investment advertisement. People selling training courses, books and other paraphernalia really make good money. But they make money on courses, books, and so on. If they were good at timely software development without bugs, they would earn much more. But they, like investment advisors, make money from our technological insecurity.

If you can do, then do. If you can’t, then manage.

However, another reason is the endless growth of middle management, which affects both large and small companies. If a company grows, then we think it needs more management. And further. And further. Why? What is the manager’s career path? He hires lower-level management. Worse, companies succumb to this, they tend to strengthen their immune system. Any attempt to change the status quo of management will threaten the very foundations of management culture. Not to mention all of these management positions. Looking for innovation? Excellent. Let’s hire an Innovation Leader. And, of course, management definitely needs something engage in and it’s a process, sprint tracking, trello boards, whatever to fill eight work hours.

Leadership, not management

And that brings us to the next point of the manifesto: leadership. You know, such a real guide. You come and show the way forward. Personally, everyone, clearly, one programmer at a time, and not only what they need to know, but also sprints with use cases. You need to have enough technical capacity to teach, prepare and motivate. And learn yourself. Report to all, down to the cleaners, where and why we are moving. Not once, but constantly. The organizations that do this will be self-governing. Why? Because people (even programmers) are smart. If you give them information and authority, they think, prioritize correctly, do not swear over a change in goals and do not really need management. If you do everything right, it turns out that you are following the team, and not leading forward, because the culture of the team becomes larger than any of its members.

Dialogue, not diktat

Finally, we got to the last point, which follows from the previous one. Communication should never be one-way. Information should spread both down and up. The only mortal sin is not failure, but unwillingness to communicate. Handled correctly, people are smart and more likely to have better ideas than management. Everyone should be listened to with respect.

If all of this made you feel uncomfortable, then that’s good. That is why this article was written.

PS: No Jira.


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