`Agile` cargo-cult leads to customers’ frustration

Let’s consider an example: I turn on my TV-set. I start my favourite TV application to watch a TV-show. It says there’s a new version and insists on updating.

Would I have access to new TV-shows or movies after this update? Not at all!
Would this application work faster after that? Hardly.
Would it be more stable? Hopefully, but no guarantees.

What would this update give me? New UI (I was OK with the old one). Ability to choose which trailer I would like to watch (like I need more than one).

It eats my internet traffic and time and gives me nothing of value in turn.

Or another one: I need to sort out my finances. I take my cell phone. I start an accounting application that works with my bank. It wouldn’t start. Connectivity issue — so it says. In reality — what I need is to go to Google Play and update the application. After the update, it looks slightly different, has some new features I don’t need and would hardly use and obfuscates previously learnt ways to the features I need.

The problem

Both companies have a blog where they tell about how they managed to move to “ Agile methodologies” and provide us with a “ better experience by frequently releasing new features”. They adopted “ automated testing”.

But hear me out — I am your customer. I am the one to say if my experience improved or not. Someone has just spent time and money to produce a `product increment`, which does nothing except pissing me off.

The solution

I can imagine, how this happened. We’re technocrats. For some insane reason, we think that new features or technologies are inherently good things. We were told to believe that Waterfall is an inherently bad thing. We believe that “we need to follow modern trends”. Like everybody does.

Millions of flies cannot be wrong about what to eat, right?

Wrong! Nobody needs your software. Nobody needs your cool new features. Nobody needs your `automated` testing or any testing at all

People need their problem solved. People need their needs addressed. People need a product they paid for to work and worth the money they spent.

Everything else is just how we do this.

If you can do things without fancy and shiny CI, cool Agile ceremonies and frequent, yet unwanted, releases — it is just fine.

We here to solve problems.

The best Software Developer is the one who knows how to solve a problem without writing a line of code, or, even better — by deleting some.

The best Agile Ceremony is the one which does not happen.

Originally published at http://aqaguy.blogspot.com on March 5, 2019.

Software engineer. Development-focused tester and test-focused developer. Interested in holistic view on testing, development and project management.