Iowa Caucus 2020 – AGILE’s Third Mega-Failure

By | February 5, 2020

Because AGILE allows companies to commit SOX accounting fraud companies are adopting it in droves. Because it is yet another name for hacking on the fly without a plan kids, not professionals, kids, love it.

No. Getting paid to do something doesn’t make you a professional. Winning $20 shooting hoops in the park does not make you a member of the NBA and neither does getting paid to hack on the fly without a plan.

A bucket of user stories for the current sprint does not in any way shape or form qualify as a plan.

Mega Failure #1 –

Some of you are probably too young to remember when first went live. It was a catastrophe. The fraud masters fed stories to New Yorker, Washington Post, and MedCity News proclaiming would not have failed had it employed AGILE methodologies. To date I’ve not seen any print a retraction. Certainly not a retraction which gets echoed across the Internet. I must admit the old links to MedCity’s article no longer work so perhaps they fell on the sword that much.

Government Computing News called these bastions of journalism out. failed because of AGILE. What the proponents of AGILE fail to admit is that systems exist which are too big to AGILE. Some of those systems fit in your hand or into a small box hanging on the wall.

Waterfall was created for a reason. You have to define the scope and direction of a project. You can’t just hack on the fly until the money runs out which is the current Silicon Valley Startup mentality. Waterfall is how you can get a team of people to walk from Chicago, IL to Kansas City, MO without them drowning in Lake Michigan. Agile lets them drown and you iterate with a new team.

Mega Failure #2 – 737Max

I haven’t physically confirmed this and most importantly, nobody is denying it. You can do a Web search for “Boeing c++ agile” and, depending on the time of year, find Boeing with a lot of “agile” developer jobs. It also appears they’ve moved quite a bit of IT to India.

boeing agile jobs image


I have speculated on this in a March blog post. More and more are starting to support it. Some very familiar with crash investigations are supporting the idea that a stall control system which did not allow the yoke to override it per industry standard is a red flag of AGILE. When you don’t have a system architect and you don’t have The Four Holy Documents written up front, you end up with a catastrophe like this.

Hacking on the fly to a bunch of “user stories” is not software engineering. It is so far from software engineering that it cannot even mail a letter to software engineering.


Mega Failure #3 – The 2020 Iowa Caucus

We don’t even have to speculate here. Kids hacking out phone apps love AGILE. It lets them hack on the fly, write their own tests to prove their code works, and makes them feel professional. Too bad they aren’t professional and the tests rarely prove anything. Most are just there to check a box.

Too big to AGILE can be a system small enough to fit in your hand. iDiot phone developers never realize that. (The “i” in iPhone really stands for iDiot. Who else would spend a thousand dollars or more for a few hundred dollars in parts.)

An independent test team working from The Four Holy Documents when developing an overall test plan would have found this “coding error” that still as of 4:29pm on February 5th can’t give us the final numbers.

The Four Holy Documents

  1. Business Requirements Document (BRD)
  2. System Requirements Document (SRD)
  3. System Architecture Document (SAD; a.k.a. System Architecture Specification or SAS)
  4. System Specification Document (SSD; a.k.a. Functional Specification; or System Functional Specification – SFS; or System Design Specification – SDS)

It is time for the Federal government to ban AGILE in all industries. While the Iowa Caucus may be found to be funny, the 737Max and certainly weren’t.



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About seasoned_geek

Roland Hughes started his IT career in the early 1980s. He quickly became a consultant and president of Logikal Solutions, a software consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS application and C++/Qt touchscreen/embedded Linux development. Early in his career he became involved in what is now called cross platform development. Given the dearth of useful books on the subject he ventured into the world of professional author in 1995 writing the first of the "Zinc It!" book series for John Gordon Burke Publisher, Inc. A decade later he released a massive (nearly 800 pages) tome "The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer" which tried to encapsulate the essential skills gained over what was nearly a 20 year career at that point. From there "The Minimum You Need to Know" book series was born. Three years later he wrote his first novel "Infinite Exposure" which got much notice from people involved in the banking and financial security worlds. Some of the attacks predicted in that book have since come to pass. While it was not originally intended to be a trilogy, it became the first book of "The Earth That Was" trilogy: Infinite Exposure Lesedi - The Greatest Lie Ever Told John Smith - Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars When he is not consulting Roland Hughes posts about technology and sometimes politics on his blog. He also has regularly scheduled Sunday posts appearing on the Interesting Authors blog.