Agile and Scrum – should they die?

If you did not yet read the article “Why Scrum Should Basically Just Die In A Fire” by Giles Bowkett, you should. That is a great discussion of various key points in Scrum methodology and the shortcomings in nearly all of its implementations in real world. I have been meaning to write up a bit of my own criticism of Agile and Scrum the way it is usually implemented today but this guy pretty much nails it down.

I don’t know personally the guys who actually put together the first definition of Agile, but I think they did not mean it to be the spectacular failure it is in too many companies today. They certainly meant to concentrate on getting working software faster and with less distraction from endless meetings that bogged down software development in the nineties. They did not mean to make management lose the long-term perspective and focus on the immediate short-term “productivity” at all times.

The mechanistic approach that is now given to us under the name of “Agile” and “Scrum” does not benefit the software development. All these story points, stand-ups, short runs – they do not promote the important part of software development – the creativity – at all. Remember that software development is actually a creative work and you quickly realize that the best thing to do is to let the people actually organize the work the way they like and measure their performance with the actual working software instead of these virtual story points and numbers of user stories. Let the people know what is expected in the end and let them keep that focus on the long-term goals while they work out the minutiae of their current tasks.

I guess I am getting worked up and writing my own article here and now. I shall stop. You go read the article, please. Thank you.

Oh, and just one last thing. The great advice comes at the end that I happen to really agree to wholeheartedly:

If you’re not doing well at hiring engineers, the answer is not a deeply flawed methodology which collapses under the weight of its own contradictions on a regular basis. The answer is to get better at hiring engineers, and ultimately to get great at it.

Ain’t that the truth.



  1. Well, I guess people in the industry no longer see creativity as an important part of software development. Besides, the whole point of the initial agile/scrum development theory was to use the actual working software as the measure of people’s performance.

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