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Robert's Blog ideas about design and development

The following quotes are exerpted from Cargo Cult Methodology.

  • "[M]anagement demanded that we estimate—and commit to—a schedule and budget"
  • "[B]ut 'making a delivery' ... required additional effort. There was no scheduled time for that either"
  • "[A]s the months went by, we learned more about the problem, and we had changes requested; that meant more use cases and more effort"
  • "[T]here was a lot of whining in upper management about how we'd made commitments, so why couldn't we keep them"
  • "[T]ime to market was critical"
  • "[W]e hadn't really allocated any effort in the schedule to the actual build and continuous integration support"
  • "After a traumatic experience, people are willing to try almost anything to make things better—except actually to change. "
  • "A lot of the techniques we ended up applying, like end-to-end "committed" schedules, were things that let management pretend they were in control."

Unfortunately, I'd be lying if I didn't say that most of the projects I've worked on in my adult life didn't incorporate all or most of the previously listed points of senselessness. Theres' a quote from "Days of Thunder" I'd like to bring up here, "Control is an illusion..." Then Nicole Kidman goes on to tell of the foolishness of race car drivers.

The problem is, life enforces the illusion of control until something happens that irrevocably takes that illusion away from you forever. I know because I was in an auto accident when I was 21. An accident I probably shouldn't have walked away from. I now have what's called a retinal detachment in my left eye. I used to be a fairly rough and tumble young man (I used to off road bike and want to jump out of planes). But now I don't even play football at barbeques for fear that a head injury will leave me blind in one eye. The illusion of control is crap. Anyone who believes otherwise is just fooling themselves. There are just too many variables. All of us can intend to grow up to be Astronauts, but only a few of us will make it.

So to all you project managers out there who think you've got life pegged, please throw the expression "Control Chaos" out the window when you are talking about Agile.

Posted on Monday, August 11, 2008 1:50 PM | Back to top


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