“I’ve been employed in tech for years, but I’ve almost never worked” — that is the title of a blog article I came across today that rang so true in my ears that I immediately had to write a blog post about it myself.
Having been employed as a developer in one form or another for the past couple of decades, I can thoroughly relate to what this blogger has written. Frankly, it is shocking how little work actually gets done in programming teams.
That isn’t to say that programmers are lazy or aren’t willing to work, but rather the companies that employ them often prevent them from working. Either management does not give them enough to do or processes irrelevant to their actual work prevent them from getting anything done. In most cases, it’s a little bit of both.
The Agile Way of Working
The author of the article also includes scathing criticism of the popular Agile way of working. He argues that not only is “productivity […] sacrificed in the name of predictability”, but also that it leads to “task bloat” where people make tasks much more difficult than they actually are, as well as the fact that “agility”, in practice, makes companies much more rigid rather than “agile”.
Essentially, he puts into accurate words what I myself have experienced as a developer at various companies. Proponents of the Agile Method will argue that it streamlines processes and promotes communication. In my experience, that means the opposite: more “meta-work” (i.e. managing Jira, physical boards, paperwork, demos, estimating difficulty, etc) and more meetings, most of which are irrelevant for me and my job at any given time.
The Agile Method is an enormous distraction from your actual work as a developer. It’s a system designed to make managers feel good and in control and they do so by preventing developers from getting their jobs done.
That is, at least, my experience and I would argue that articles like this one prove that I am not alone in my opinion of it.
Hype About New Technologies
In the world of programming, new technologies are constantly emerging and being hyped. It seems like every month there is some great new library, framework, AI chat bot, programming language, software architecture, compiler, packager, etc that will improve the lives of developers and companies alike.
However, the opposite is frequently true. Not only does management frequently jump on the bandwagon of whatever is currently trendy and order products be built around it, they do it in a way that demoralizes developers.
They may, for instance, hire extra developers specifically to work on it which leads to more “task bloating” since there isn’t enough work to go around. Even worse is when developers are forced to build a product that no one wants or uses. It was just built at the whim of some manager who thought the latest and greatest was going to solve all of their company’s problems.
Again, I’m not alone in having frequently experienced that in the workplace. The blogger also talks about his own experiences with it.
I am not going to summarize everything he says in his article as that would be pointless. Suffice it to say that it is extremely well-written and makes a huge number of valid points about the work experience as a developer.
There is also a German translation of this blog article available from Golem.de:
What has your experience been with working as a developer or with developers?