Not all developers like Agile, and here are 5 reasons why

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By Ram Kezel

In the beginning, Agile was created by programmers for programmers. It was meant to boost productivity, but for some, it became a roadblock instead. There are the 5 most popular reasons why developers are rising against Agile.

#1 Reason: Agile Can Turn Into Micromanagement 

Feedback is one of the cornerstones of Agile. To ensure constant communication, teams use daily stand-ups (daily scrums). Those regular sessions should help everyone to be on the same page by sharing what was done yesterday and what’s the plan for today. But there were many situations when people started to see this as a way to micromanage the team.

One of the goals of Agile is to let teams decide their own pace, but when daily scrums become daily micromanagement, it turns into a burden. Arnas Stuopelis, Chairman of the Board of hosting provider Hostinger, says that “Developers, and all people in general, feel best when they are trusted. Micromanagement can frustrate, disempower, and destroy motivation.” 

#2 Reason: Agile Becomes The Goal Itself

Agile can be helpful to reach goals, but it can be toxic when Agile becomes the goal itself. Jame Cooke, the Managing Director of Both Hemispheres, compares Agile to happiness: “Trying to be an Agile organization is like trying to be a happy person. You do not achieve Agility (or happiness) by making it your primary objective; you achieve it by making constructive changes and taking positive actions that get you there.”

The problem is that Agile became a trendy buzzword. And some companies want to be Agile just for the sake of it. Such companies are doomed from the beginning. It’s impossible to achieve something great when your goal is not the achievement but the method of work. 

#3 Reason: Agile Lets To Abdicate Responsibility

Agile is a sequence of processes that should boost productivity. But sometimes strict procedures can start to feel like a hamster wheel, when whatever you do, you end up in the same place again and again. Brian Knapp, the blogger at Code Career Genius, writes: “After a while, the bad process makes a team hate working together or working at a company at all. But, you can’t really fix it because the reason the process exists is to abdicate responsibility, not to improve things.”

When people are using Agile just because they were told to, they lose their motivation. And without motivation, there is no personal responsibility left. The structure allows abdicating the responsibility because it is much easier to blame the processes rather than yourself. 

#4 Reason: Agile Can Take Up A Lot Of Time

Agile has its proceedings, and they can take up a lot of time. We are talking about daily stand ups, sprint planning, backlog grooming, sprint demos and retrospectives. Let’s say that we are talking about the team of 8 people. Each of them spends 15 minutes on a daily standup, sprint planning lasts 45 minutes, backlog grooming takes up 2 hours, sprint demo and retrospective both takes 45 minutes. The total would be 44 hours in 2 weeks just for the procedures. 

John Jenson, technical director at TandemSeven, brings attention to all that extra time people spend to reconcentrate after the meetings. “The stops and stars introduce mental context switches for all involved. If we apply a 15 min tax for each developer for each meeting, we lose another 30 hours.” 

#5 Reason: Agile Can Boost Stress

Last but not least reason is the rising levels of stress. People tend to perform at their best when having long-term projects. Agile pushes people into a constant deadline mode without the way out. And it can be extremely stressful. 

Garreth Dottin, an editor at Medium, warns that Agile cannot be used to improve productivity at all. He writes: “There is no real and interesting work that will benefit the programmer’s career journey and instead has them go in circles doing the same stressful workload for every challenge.”

So What To Do?

Despite various negative opinions, people dislike not the Agile itself, but the misuse of it. When applied the right way, it shows significant results. Mohammad Rizvi writes on Redgate, that “many companies have registered an increase of team productivity by 16% or even more.” 

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to face Agile, don’t be afraid of it. It has its risks, but everything depends on you and your team. It’s not the Agile, that micromanages you or increases the stress. People do that. Be open to each other in your team. Discuss the way you handle processes. And make Agile work in your favor.

Kezel is the public relations coordinator @ Hostinger


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