I was thinking of bruce perens words on the community of geeks as being plagued by brillant tech with awful social skills. And I was wondering, what if he was right?
What good a socialization event would do except put them out of ease?
And then, something struck me. I had already seen and been involved in this kind of process. But it was working, with exactly the same kind of crowd, yet more feminine.
At Rider's University during an internship in the 90's. In the chemistry department. And now that I think of it it was quite a widespread technique to have this kind of meeting in research.
They were same, but very different. But same.
All the students would meet up at workly stages for undergraduate, monthly stages for PhDs, and researchers would have some meeting (especially for asking funding).
For us interns it was :
- explain in simple words to the other team your context;
- what is fun/exciting?
- what did you planed;
- how did you do so far;
- What are your successes and your difficulties.
Our errors were valued because science is experimental science is a lot of dealing with bugs either in the equations, the instruments, the theory, and 1per millions of a time the physical world itself. And errors are carefully considered because sometimes they can turn into pure gold. Especially the "World BUG Bingo". This one means either breakthrough or fraud
Each team would have a speaker that rotates to present the advance of the work. At the end, people would ask questions to each others and answers. Sometime teams would need or share solutions from other teams. There was no "I" but "We". Teacher would try to no open the mouth (if solution involving not having them to work on it, it could be cool).
It was working.
With the same kind of crowd with more mixed genders than what we have in IT industry.
Teachers would pick some slides, go to a progress meeting boards, say how every one is doing fine, or that we have time to plan to help them later. And then would do their other jobs that were funnier.
So all seeming equal except the organization of work in an university and in IT for doing research and development, I claim Agile could be the problem here. (this is a trick, reasoning absurdly)
Agile clearly looks like "progress reports" from university BUT the MMA individual hardcore fight on technical and social level version. Encouraging individual skills much more than carebear version of the dodge ball.
Agile implies a role playing game with a pointing finger game inside ... a competitive game for the top of the hill. There is a "I" and no collective responsibilities. Staline would have loved the sovietic citizens to embrace this embarrassing self trial. Blame the tools, the people, do not question the organization of work. Nice one.
University report force people to act as a a team and coalesce the success and failure to the team as a whole for the length of a project you are bound to the destiny of the project.
It also put the work and its importance on the front of the stage. Let me tell you, it is much more exciting to work on supra-conductor type II and non stoechiometric values in doping oxyde when you know that if ever it proved good enough supra-conductor at room temperature the impact on the Ohm law are amazing, and thus you can deliver cheaper electricity.
It is more exciting than coding the nth secured with shell/SQL injection big brother tools.
Since, results are the only thing that matters and solidarity was valued (in this university) it developed a culture of cooperation and thus there was an incentive to call for help. And being helped as much as helping was valued. Okay, and teachers were smart and lazy at this place.
So as a lot of scientific apprentice I learnt to value more the project delivery other the methodology in the sneaky ways of a physicist in front of an equation.
This culture of loving crafting over career has put me in a lot of fights.
Because I think that inability to deliver in IT is like conway's law suggest it an organizational problem.
IT companies have a super cow power of corrupting any kind of good idea it touches into crap. The same way the catholic church made wedding degenerates when it touched it. And always ends up saying this is no crap; this is the fertilizer of the next gen solutions. And everybody believe.
I have seen my share of project work. Funnily enough the further you are from computer scientists you are and new "efficient" tools or management technique the better chance of actual delivering.
IT industry seems to have a corporate culture that is toxic. And neither Agile nor ISO nor IEEE nor anything technical is going to change it.
It is deeply rooted in its idealization of the chain of value of their business. I did ISO. It can work. Except in IT business. Any way all our legal contract says we have no financial nor legal liabilities, so what is then a "non conformity", a default? There is no need for QA when you are legally not tied to non conformities in your production.
Their ideal business model -start up- is sometimes looking like a true psychopathic economical agent. With (however long are their "our value/vision web page) a total disdain for the development either of their own workers or even the community.
Sometimes when I look at ISIS organization, I have the feeling the terrorists are turning into startup...which means that they already lost since they are turning into their worst nightmare. Daesh is already dying, they are the living proof they are an occidental organization using all the worst techniques they say to be immoral. The more they use, the more they change themselves in their enemy. At least, IT is useful for fighting against terrorism on one domain.
What are the hint of psychopathy among startup?
I never saw an end user being correctly interviewed and taking care of their need.
I never saw a startup thinking it was alright to be dedicated to passions balancing your life and wishing for a traditional way of life rather than success. I love to play music, ride my bike, and in return it make me more creative and happy. Why is my life choice not accepted? I have the right to live selfishly passionate and put my passions on a pedestal.
Startup resort a lot to brainwashing techniques in order to not pay extra hours, have coders crunching at 60hrs/week for weeks, getting to pay less for driving ethical problems. Companies are only about making money you know?
Startup love the Stokholm syndroma. A brilliant developer is needed for the deal? We will tie him for 3 years on a job he hates for the glory of taking one for the team. No compensation required.
IT don't care about the spirit of the law. They just care to maximize their interest by finding loopholes in rules. Airbn'b, Uber, amazon ... all of these companies have been using loopholes and taken part in the impoverishment of traditional business that are harder to build. Ant builded business. The business of the less fortunate.
They behave like grasshopers. And after the ants are bankrupted, they hire them and since they destroyed their market at a lower price to do the same jobs, they now have a monopoly, making them increase their income for just being an intermediate. It is economical vandalism that will take decades to undo.
Modern startups are just legal extortions, illegal surveillance, tax avoidance ... IT has become the modern days Sin city. I sometimes wish to answer I am professional assassin instead of saying I code.
(back on track) I don't say Agile is bad. I just say gives anything that could be good in the hand of a murderous psychopath can be turn it into a torture instrument.
I don't blame agile for its lack of worth. I blame IT toxic culture, and yet even more dangerous lack of moral conscience among the developer that are supposed to be smart and critical.
Especially the one from free open source software who have been bribed by organization like mozilla, apple, google and whatever for peanuts.
What about the solution?
The solution which was in fact closer to a solid is retired.
Good teachers are gold. Especially that I hate teachers. I always rant about teachers.
Except the very very minority that has nothing to do in universities that have also a toxic culture. I think passionate sharing people that love to be happy and paid reasonably are assets. Exactly not the kind of "good IT employee".
I belong to the craftsman, not the professional. I think that our professional culture is bad and is the problem underlying the Agile methodology.
I think that ritual of honest conversation don't worth true honest conversations. For this, you need rules that are not rigged towards accepted behaviour vs taboo one.
I think nothing based on honesty and some ethic can be working in a culture that has a soft tooth for deceptive lies.
Can anyone prove IT has been improving our societies, our daily jobs, our economical growth, our ecological footprint?
The first lie of IT is pretending without measure it is an improvement and an economical revolution.
So far, it is a financial revolution that benefits the distributors and the man in the middle to make more efficient collection from artificial monopolies based on crushing oldly established hard to build business model using the laws as a lever in a close to irreversible way.
We know we win parasites, we also loose long to build stable business.
Don't let be fooled by techniques, language, new paradigms. It is all about doing stuffs, and being smart.
Your invention can improve or harm the world, be careful to whom you give them too.
Programmers of the world: please grow either a pair of steak or balls, but maybe if you are that smart, begin to question the world around you.
Be like Bill
And don't be impressed by a meme telling you to shut your mouth;
Thinking is already disobeying.