We are getting murdered. We are guinea pigs for management fads, we are forced to attend hours and hours of recurring meetings every week, we are expected to put in inhumanly long hours. We need to organize against this because alone we will just be fired, one at a time.
In 2004 or so Brian Valentine, who headed the Windows Vista project (“Longhorm”), told us to stop using Windows XP as our development environment and use the product itself instead. We nearly burned down the building; the refusal was strident and unanimous and carried the day. They couldn’t fire every developer on Vista.
We can do this. But only together.
George Orwell was a wise man and in his iconic 1984 he presented the strong form of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis as a new language called Newspeak, whose vocabulary was restricted to approved concepts and was being constantly reduced in its scope so that only concepts congruent with the ideology of the repressive government could be expressed.
We in the software development community are being similarly manipulated and the very first thing we should do to take back the joy that was once our work is to fight back against false nomenclature.
Most of my career on the rare occasions we had design documents we based requirements around usage scenarios. For example in a word processor (yes, there was a time they were new) one such might be to create an outline before filling it in with verbiage. In a music player a usage scenario might be creating a playlist of songs to listen to.
Then came this “agile” horseshit. A trivial bit of new process (interruptions by any other name) was imposed upon us, a few mediocrities got some training and came back with new titles that included loaded words like “master,” and a lot of procedures we have always done were rebranded as something new and cooool with new names.
In the Brave New World called Agile the idea of usage scenarios was replaced by “stories.”
Stories. What little children hear at bedtime. What little children get with milk and cookies before nap time in kindergarten.
Adults read novels, novellas, short stories. Only children get stories.
This is infantilizing. Like checkout clerks in a grocery store forced to wear pilgrim hats or Santa Claus caps or some other dehumanizing costume to promote some sale.
That it’s inaccurate is just the icing on the cake; usage scenarios are not “stories,” they are not works of toddler fiction with witches and princesses.
Rebel against stories. In your meetings call them usage scenarios; strikethrough the word in email replies and enter usage scenario in bold. When someone dutifully intones the word aloud, interrupt and say “usage scenario.”