I went out and met a bunch of people over the farewell of a good friend and past colleague over a really fun project I was on.
Over drinks I heard a really disheartening story of what's been happening since I left.
In the beginning, when I was still there...
We had a new CEO for this public listed company. He's really big on agile development. Agile was billed as the next biggest thing throughout the organization. From the top down, processes were reviewed to be more agile. Both development and business.
Agile was preached to the shareholders. It was going to save costs and make the company so much money in the long run.
To this end, the new CEO hired his old buddies (let's just starting naming names: Thoughtworks) to help steer the processes in the company to be more agile.
Then gradually after I left...
Now, this existing team still had plenty of very clever guys, and while the process that was followed wasn't by any means an agile process to start with, a lot of the processes changed over time to accommodate agile methodologies - we had frequent releases, we already had unit testing anyway, we had tasks on cards that we stick on a board, we had a continuous build server, and we even had a build server with an USB build light that goes red or green (now name how many agile teams that actually had something like this).
Apparently, the way the team used SVN wasn't agile enough. Even though they were branching and merging with some really clever scripts, and there was major conflict with Thoughtwork's people over this.
So, with 90% code complete, with 1 month remaining on the project, the project is rock solid and ready to go. The word came down from above:
This .NET project isn't agile. It can not be considered an agile success. We're canning the project.
Thoughtworks now owns the project, they will re-implement it in Java. They will deliver it next April (6 months).
A few weeks later, Thoughtworks asked for all the .NET code to be handed over so they can, I guess, translate them to Java.
I've never heard such an evil story related to "agile". It is pure politics. I bled inside when I heard what happened to these guys.
Secretly I wondered that since the entire organization is turning into a Java shop, perhaps all .NET projects were in trouble to start with, and they were looking for a smoking gun to kill the project. Thoughtworks was never hired to assist with the project processes. They were hired to fire the .NET guys.
This story has no good ending:
Of this original dream team:
All the contractors either left for other opportunities, staying around for a bit longer, or had stopped their contracts, everyone is still keeping in touch, I'm sure when a big project happens the those that remained will leave and join the others.
All the permanent employees were put onto support roles, because .NET is now a legacy system. Quite a surprising number of them are on career leave. Many of them may probably not return from overseas. When you've worked with a dream team and worked on some really challenging cutting edge .NET stuff, you just can't go back and fix support issues anymore.
So, there's my little rant. To the guys who are probably very bitter over the whole thing, my heart bled for you guys. You guys rocked, and deserved much better than this.