This question has been cooking in my head for a while so I wanted to ask those who are following agile/scrum practices in their development environments.
My company has finally ventured into incorporating agile practices and has started out with a team of four developers in an agile group on a trial basis. It has been four months with three iterations, and they continue to do it without going fully agile for the rest of us. This is due to the fact that middle management is entrusted to meet business requirements with quite a bit of ad hoc requests from upper management.
Recently, I talked to the developers who are part of this initiative; they tell me that it's not fun. They are not allowed to talk to other developers. Their Scrum master enforces this restriction. And they are not allowed to take any non-business-related phone calls in the work area. For example, if I want to talk to my friend, who is in the agile team, just for kicks -- I am not allowed without the approval of the Scrum master; who is sitting right next to the agile team.
The idea of all this (or the agile, in general) is to provide a complete vacuum for agile developers from any interruptions, and to have them put in good 6+ productive hours. Well, guys, I am no agile guru but what I have read Yahoo agile rollout document and similar for other organizations, it gives me a feeling that agile is not cheap. It require resources and budget to instill agile into the teams and correct issue as they arrive to put them back on track.
For starters, it requires training for developers and coaching for managers and etc, etc... The current Scrum master was a manager who took a couple days agile training class paid by the management is now leading this agile team. I have also heard in the meeting that agile manifesto doesn't dictate that agile is not set in stone, and is customized differently for each company. Well, it all sounds good and reasonable.
In conclusion, I always thought the agile was supposed to bring harmony in the development teams which results in happy developers. However, I am getting the very opposite feeling when talking to the developers in the agile team. They are unhappy that they cannot talk about anything but work, sitting quietly all day just working, and they feel it's just another way for management to make them work more.
Tell me please, if this is one of the examples of good practices used for the purpose of selfish advantage for more dollars? Or maybe it's just us, the developers like me and this agile team, which feels that they don't like to work in an environment where they only breathe work while they're at work.
It's a company in the healthcare domain that has offices across the US. It definitely feels like a cowboy style agile, which makes me really not want to go for agile at all, especially at my current company.
All of it has to do with the management being completely cheap. Cutting out expensive coffee for a cheaper version, emphasis on savings and being productive while staying as lean as possible.
My feeling is that someone in the management behind closed doors threw out this idea: agile makes you produce more, so we can show our bosses we're producing more with the same headcount. Or, maybe, it will allow us to reduce headcount if that's the case.
They are having their 5 min daily meeting. But not allowed to chat or talk with someone outside of their team. All focus is on work.