Spectacular Vernacular

It’s fairly well known within software circles that, generally speaking, true agile software development is not so much frowned upon by project managers, but rather wholly dismissed as a software engineering flight of fancy. Quite clearly, pair programming = a 100% waste of resources. Obvious isn’t it? Thus, despite advances in software methodologies, traditional BDUF and the Waterfall Model which have been used (and their problems regularly experienced) since the software stone age, still rule. I think we’re still in the stone age.

Over the last year I’ve noticed that agile terminology is beginning to decorate middle management vernacular, despite agile methodology still not being accepted, or even considered, as a feasible development approach in most software teams. Having exhausted such popular words[1] as synergy, holistic, strategic and collaborative, middle managers have eagerly embraced unit test, iterative and refactor without having concerned themselves about their actual meaning. I’m sure they mean well, but refactor is commonly used alongside or in place of re-write, iterative is randomly thrown in to conversations whilst unit test is, well, just abused (“the inbound process can now be completed and unit tested”).

This “term-abuse” is actually rather amusing and can save your sanity during a tedious meeting, but I think it’s a software developer’s duty to correct a manager guilty of it, or at least try to correct them, and continue to do so until the penny drops (or until you get ‘promoted’ to project manager).

I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m asked, “how’s your continuous integration coming along?”, but at least I’ll be able to reply with, “it’s achieving remarkable synergy with the strategic holistic approach” without fear of sounding ridiculous.

[1] The most hilarious management-speak I’ve heard lately, said in all seriousness to a room of over thirty people, was the frankly nonsense-embracing, “we want to be holistic about our scalable/repeatable logic”. Reader explanations are encouraged.