Suppressing the Excellence

The last issue I will cover in this mini-series on the unattended side-effects of agile is probably the most controversial. In my opinion lean and agile by themselves do not promote high-quality software engineering, but on the contrary, they are suppressing the excellence.

These days they say in Silicon Valley: "If you're not embarrassed of the first version of your product, you've shipped too late" I very much agree that from the business and product management standpoint it makes a lot of sense to put products to the hands of end users as soon as possible so that customer feedback can be garnered immediately. But from the angle of an engineer this position is really hard to swallow. Engineers are proud people who define themselves through results of their work. Forcing engineers to constantly do make-shift work with no time for doing things properly is a recipe for miserable engineers.

I believe the business and product managers must understand that engineers are special people that must be treated with respect. I'll provide tomorrow some remedies how to enable fast product discovery while still keeping excellence in engineering.