I like to play a game sometimes, it goes like this: Take a current hot and screwed-up software methodology and try to project what its replacement is going to be.
For instance, the shiny bits of Scrum are starting to wear off like the cheap paint from a fake idol, but there’s still time to dust off the crystal ball and toss some coins in the air. And based on what I’ve seen killed dead on the altar of Agile (and it ain’t been pretty) here’s what I think will happen next.
Remember all those burndown and velocity tracking applications The Powers That Be bought for Scrum? They’re not going to go to waste: Get ready for micrometrics. Practically everything a team does will be measured, analyzed and acted upon by project managers. Going over checkins and having a thousand eyes on things is going to be horse and buggy stuff. We’re going to see utter exposure of everything that goes into the head and out of the fingers of developers, every cotton pickin’ thing will be timestamped, correlated to features, and graphed during reviews (which will happen in real-time).
In the new world of micrometrical software, no sparrow will fall without a burrowcrat getting on someone’s case about it.
How long did it take you to fix that bug this morning? What source code did you call up? How many steps did you take in the debugger, and what did you look at? What unit tests did you actually write and run? Did Joe, the dev next to you, fix a similar bug in less time, with better quality? How much email went back and forth about the issue? Do you often mis-spell keywords? Do you hit backspace a lot, or change your mind about function names or parameters? Does it appear that you know exactly what you’re doing?
What percentage of your keystrokes and mouse clicks and minutes of your day can be mapped to a product feature?
My guess is there are shops already doing this, where fractal attention to detail has become a recursive ass-covering game, and everyone has forgotten why they started writing software for a living.
Has it been that long? When was the last time you enjoyed making a hunk of code work?
Please, have fun every day.