Friday, October 1, 2010

Non Agile Company

At least in my group AGILE is not understood at all.
I am continuously doing detailed specs that nobody respects in the end.
I do not say that specs are bad, contrary they are good but the detail level has to be adjusted as to make them useful.
How agility works in our case is as this funny site describes:
They are evaluating AGILE tools and methodologies just to stick harder on their V cycle development system and enormous paperwork.

IMHO we are less agile than three years before as today the project steering has at least three layers of management. The hierarchy is extremely complicated... Let's see:

A project has a Technical Project Manager (TPM) and a Technical Project Responsible (TPR) - generally not the same person. The TPM manages a version of the product generic or a customized for a specific client.
The TPR is a hybrid between architect and team leader. A TPR can be a be both a developer/tester and/or a TPM for another product/project. Everybody reports to a Development Team Leader or Validation Team Leader. The VTL/DTL reports to Group Leader and Group Leader reports to Development Manager. DM reports to VP of Development who reports to the CTO who reports to the President who reports to the CEO. On the other hand there is also a Product Manager who basically delegates its work to TPR and Tendering Support. He/She reports to ProductLine Manager. The ProductLine Manager reports to the Program Management Office... Complicated isn't it? And there is Quality also and his boss - they create paperwork and processes. Oh, and local management line - they decide on the IT, pencils, realestate.... That' s not all, there is also procurement... And Operations - they take the product and install it to the client. And the TAC and TEC guys. Their role is to forward emails from clients directly to developers - hierarchy short circuits.
For product lifecycle you have to gather TPR, PM, PLM, DM, operations, quality. They can discuss almost everything but real technical problems and opportunities.
The technical aspects are discussed by TPR, procurement, tendering and operations.
The specs are written by developers and edited by Group Leaders. Who are ex-engineers. And omniscient.
When is to budget something of hire somebody then all those - up to VP have to discuss in order to disagree.
In case of incidents everybody from CTO is involved. They are all looking for the developer who did not tested for NULL a pointer (as per CTO's angry email). But the developer who was in the meantime a TPL for another project had no time to look further in the code 'cause he/she was overloaded by another client who has a long trade history with the president and the president pushed that the developments for this clients to be put in front of other task - including the bugfixing.
In the meantime the organization becomes leaner and agiler by creating a super PMO that can decide on the projects - they have no connection with all the others but they manage budgets for product lines. The developers are asked to evaluate Jira and Mercurial along with writing Word documents kept in fourversion control/document management systems...
The ratio is about 1.37 Managers/Developer...

I stop here... It is too much for me to describe this chaos in words and my drawing skills are extremely poor.
I am wondering sometimes is my recent neurosis has something with this incredible mess.
Personally I have stopped fighting for order and clear roles... I am not even advocating agile anymore... It's no use. Every one has to live from developer to CEO. I cannot oppose to this. I have to earn something too.

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