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Mojo Jojo
Sep 21, 2005
Hypnotist of Ladies

I worked for a place with a management consultancy wing when it was a major fad to do "agile transformation"

Agile HR

Agile marketing

Agile building surveys

Agile wastewater treatment

Agile catering services

One of the top brass gave a keynote at some dreadful "pay to speak" event about how all serious companies should now have a Chief Agile Officer who would ?????.

It was embarrassing. I've never seen agile well implemented but I can imagine the intention working okay for relatively unambitious pure software projects.

We all worry about what the next fad is as agile is on the way out now with most places having vestigal hour long standup meetings that 90% of attendees skip because they have work to do

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Tetramin
Apr 1, 2006

I'ma buck you up.


Ugh I loving hate stand ups. We used to just do a meeting on Monday to set our goals for the week which would take about an hour, then Wednesday and Friday we’d have a really short call where our boss would just give quick little updates that the team might not be aware of, they’d last about 5-10 minutes so no big deal.

Then my boss went on a week and a half vacation so the VP ran those meetings while she was out and he would run through the goals spreadsheet in all 3 meetings taking up about 45 minutes to an hour, and when she returned he must’ve told her to start doing that too. So now we waste hours a week giving updates on poo poo every other day and it pisses me off.

nexus6
Sep 2, 2011

If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes

We've got team meeting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Pre-covid it was only on a Monday. Every meeting we go through the entire team one-by-one what they're currently working on/what tasks have been completed/what's coming up. There's a chat at the end to bring up anything else not already in the schedule and/or random chitchat. Usually takes about 30 minutes each time.

edit: that's not counting per-project standup meetings, you might also have those on top of these

Elephant Ambush
Nov 13, 2012

...We shoulde spenden more time together. What sayest thou?




Nap Ghost

Outrail posted:

^^: Lol, life finds a way.

After reading this thread and others for a while now I still have no idea what the gently caress Agile is.

To the best of my understanding, it's a frustrating and pointless piece of project management software that would probably work if used correctly but because c-level nutsacks and dumbshit middle managers have jumped onto it it's just more time wasted instead of accomplishing poo poo. Is that close?

I have no plans to actually look it up so feel free to lie to me.

"Agile" isn't really a thing. It's a set of values and principles. It's about mindset and behaviors. I prefer to refer to it as agility. There are many ways to be Agile and that's what's cool about it. Here is agility in a nutshell:


- Break your work into the smallest pieces that make sense but still deliver end-to-end value to your customer, whatever that means in your business context.

- Order these small work items in such a way that the highest value items are at the top of the list. "Value" here means whatever your customer finds valuable and "customer" I mean the people who pay your company for goods and/or services

- Set a short but reasonable time box for the team to do the work (usually 2 or 3 weeks but the team should decide on the duration)

- Do the work in a way that ensures the most quality and value for the customer

- At the end of the time box, show the customer what you did and get feedback. From this feedback, deploy the stuff they like to them and add feedback items to your list of work and re-order the list based on customer value

- Repeat forever


Yes this is insanely difficult in practice because of a million factors we all know about but that's the basic idea. It doesn't involve specific tools or project management at all.


On the other hand, the current waterfall model people are locked into involves a year-long (or longer) project plan where you talk to the customer exactly twice: once at the beginning to gather requirements and once when you deliver the project to them after a year and it's not even close to what they originally asked for because you didn't to talk to them to ensure what they wanted for an entire year. So you can complain about how agility doesn't work but again I will insist that it's because the managers and executives and project managers don't want it to work as designed because it invalidates a ton of their jobs. They all want agility for other people but not for them personally so it inevitably fails.

As was said, there are companies that are agile. However they tend to be either startups or medium sized companies. Huge enterprises are hilariously difficult to coach because the first things they need to do are change the reward system to reward agility and not traditional project management behavior and flatten the org. The people in charge of changing the reward system are the people who benefit the most from it so they always try to make it work without sacrificing anything at the top levels. It can be done but it takes literally years and it's super slow and super painful and requires exactly the right mindset from the top to support it.

PIZZA.BAT
Nov 12, 2016





Agile has been coopted to become make-work for management

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


poisonpill posted:

The marketing people have been rotating our product names so frequently and enforcing it with snotty cc all call outs, that it isn’t uncommon to have three teams meet and all be speaking about the same thing but using different words and confusing each other. None of this affects the clients.

They also called me up to personally rat out one of the people I supervise for only getting a six out of eleven answers correct on the “just for fun” corporate values quiz we all took at the end of some zoom event last month. Then they called my boss about it

They're actually doing you a favor by letting you know who would absolutely collaborate with the aliens when they invaded.

SkyeAuroline posted:

Received a 40ish cent raise in exchange for shutting up about our tech debt when trying to solve problems.

lol
cheaper than an IT guy I guess.

That's an insult raise, it's like throwing pennies at a street performer.

Batterypowered7
Aug 8, 2009

The mist that chills you keeps me warm.



Elephant Ambush posted:

"Agile" isn't really a thing. It's a set of values and principles. It's about mindset and behaviors. I prefer to refer to it as agility. There are many ways to be Agile and that's what's cool about it. Here is agility in a nutshell:


- Break your work into the smallest pieces that make sense but still deliver end-to-end value to your customer, whatever that means in your business context.

- Order these small work items in such a way that the highest value items are at the top of the list. "Value" here means whatever your customer finds valuable and "customer" I mean the people who pay your company for goods and/or services

- Set a short but reasonable time box for the team to do the work (usually 2 or 3 weeks but the team should decide on the duration)

- Do the work in a way that ensures the most quality and value for the customer

- At the end of the time box, show the customer what you did and get feedback. From this feedback, deploy the stuff they like to them and add feedback items to your list of work and re-order the list based on customer value

- Repeat forever


Yes this is insanely difficult in practice because of a million factors we all know about but that's the basic idea. It doesn't involve specific tools or project management at all.


On the other hand, the current waterfall model people are locked into involves a year-long (or longer) project plan where you talk to the customer exactly twice: once at the beginning to gather requirements and once when you deliver the project to them after a year and it's not even close to what they originally asked for because you didn't to talk to them to ensure what they wanted for an entire year. So you can complain about how agility doesn't work but again I will insist that it's because the managers and executives and project managers don't want it to work as designed because it invalidates a ton of their jobs. They all want agility for other people but not for them personally so it inevitably fails.

As was said, there are companies that are agile. However they tend to be either startups or medium sized companies. Huge enterprises are hilariously difficult to coach because the first things they need to do are change the reward system to reward agility and not traditional project management behavior and flatten the org. The people in charge of changing the reward system are the people who benefit the most from it so they always try to make it work without sacrificing anything at the top levels. It can be done but it takes literally years and it's super slow and super painful and requires exactly the right mindset from the top to support it.

Excuse me, there's always the option of prototyping so the customer gets to see they're not getting what they want a little earlier.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Batterypowered7 posted:

Excuse me, there's always the option of prototyping so the customer gets to see they're not getting what they want a little earlier.

You joke, but it's actually pretty useful to validate some of the decisions you want to make.

The UX people where I work will create mocked up versions of a design for something they're working on, with a few premade flows, to show what they're considering for a feature. They then show that to a test audience of internal volunteers, so that when all of them have no loving clue how to do what you've just asked them to, you won't have wasted significantly more valuable time actually making the thing that way, for real.

It's also nice to have as a placeholder to show stakeholders, for validation from them as well in the same way. "Hey, we think you want XYZ to work like this, so we glued on a couple of sample flows to demo the idea of what we're planning to do. Is this what you wanted?" It's dramatically cheaper to prototype at this stage if it's not clear whether you should do a certain thing, or how it should be done, than to actually make the thing and then have to make huge changes.

You can even do this with paper and cutouts, honestly. The important thing is making sure people can match their mental image with yours.

Agile cannot fail, it can only be failed

Volmarias fucked around with this message at 19:49 on May 1, 2021

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


'Break a large task into small tasks. Get feedback on small tasks to make sure you're doing the large task right'

Is that what agile is? People pay money to have this explained? Companies need coaching to implement this? Are you loving kidding me?

I guess companies still have trouble with 'workers want to be paid a fair wage, so give them a fair wage' so that tracks.

Batterypowered7
Aug 8, 2009

The mist that chills you keeps me warm.



Outrail posted:

'Break a large task into small tasks. Get feedback on small tasks to make sure you're doing the large task right'

Is that what agile is? People pay money to have this explained? Companies need coaching to implement this? Are you loving kidding me?

I guess companies still have trouble with 'workers want to be paid a fair wage, so give them a fair wage' so that tracks.

You too can be an Agile coach and make beaucoup money!

MrQueasy
Nov 15, 2005

Quit shakin' me, kid!

Outrail posted:

I guess companies still have trouble with 'workers want to be paid a fair wage, so give them a fair wage' so that tracks.

And a lot of managers have a big problem with the newfangled "people generally want to do a good job, so focus on enabling them to do it" management philosophy that was popularized in the 1950s.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Outrail posted:

'Break a large task into small tasks. Get feedback on small tasks to make sure you're doing the large task right'

Is that what agile is? People pay money to have this explained? Companies need coaching to implement this? Are you loving kidding me?

I guess companies still have trouble with 'workers want to be paid a fair wage, so give them a fair wage' so that tracks.

Also "allow the people doing the work to determine how hard it will be, and the cadence at which they work, so that the PM will have a decent idea of when they will be done with X later this year." Breaking the work up is useful not just for better evaluating how hard it is, but also allows for parallelization. If only one person can do 80% of the task, having someone else do the other 20% means they're done in 4 days instead of the 2.5 they expected, which is still better than the 5 it would be. This is surprisingly important since most management somehow has not heard of The Mythical Man Month, and think that 9 women can make a baby in 1 month.

A ton of agile boils down to "stop micromanaging, let the people who do the work actually do the work, and make sure they know what they're doing is the thing the customer actually wants." Scrums, backlog grooming, fist o five, all of that tends to be overhead to get management on board by pretending there's something they can look at and go to.

That said, it also only really works well in an environment where change is expected to occur, but in manageable intervals. It does not necessarily make sense for things like government contracts, where there will be no change. It also does not make sense for things like Customer Support, where there's nothing to really iterate on or predict. Many Agile horror stories come from management expecting that proclaiming that they are now Agile will make it so, in a Michael Scott "I declare bankruptcy" way.

Volmarias fucked around with this message at 20:15 on May 1, 2021

Tekopo
Oct 24, 2008

When you see it, you'll shit yourself.




I get a bonus base on my utilisation (basically the percentage of my work that is directly billable to a client), but there is an allowance for attending meetings, training etc so that I can still do non-billable stuff and my bonus doesn't suffer because of it.

A couple of weeks back, our department head sent an email basically saying "Hey, we met our target for the quarter, congratulations to everyone for your hard work. By the way, we are taking attending meetings and training off the bonus non-billable allowance".

Guess who's never attending a quarterly company meeting ever again?

AHH F/UGH
May 25, 2002



Tetramin posted:

Ugh I loving hate stand ups. We used to just do a meeting on Monday to set our goals for the week which would take about an hour, then Wednesday and Friday we’d have a really short call where our boss would just give quick little updates that the team might not be aware of, they’d last about 5-10 minutes so no big deal.

Then my boss went on a week and a half vacation so the VP ran those meetings while she was out and he would run through the goals spreadsheet in all 3 meetings taking up about 45 minutes to an hour, and when she returned he must’ve told her to start doing that too. So now we waste hours a week giving updates on poo poo every other day and it pisses me off.

Nightmare. My boss has cancelled the last like six weekly meetings, because he’s been busy with “other meetings” or on vacation. It rules, and we all know what’s *really* going on. Our department does a good job and we don’t need oversight to be better than just about any other department, and if we need something we can just call and ask.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


Batterypowered7 posted:

You too can be an Agile coach and make beaucoup money!

I know of 'business coaches' who charge $2k/month to meet with small business owners once a month for a few hours and tell them things like 'be more efficient, go after jobs that are more likely to pay' and poo poo like that. A friend started managing some dufus' business who was failing and the first thing she did was tell him fire the useless coach and spend the money on staff "Noooo I need his advice".

If I had less scruples I'd definitely try some sort of bullshit like that.

Psykmoe
Oct 28, 2008


SMEGMA_MAIL posted:

30 hours a week at a full time job? Are you in Finland or something?


Shellception posted:

Your workplace sounds almost like mine, down to the "work hours are counted in a monthly base" thing (we do have software people around though, thanks god). In our case we are required to be around from 9 to 2 each day, as it's a public access University research lab and people need to be able to find us during working hours, but we are otherwise free to come early, stay later or whatever, as long as the number of hours worked in a month is correct. Some people do longer days M-Th and then get to go home earlier on Fridays, for example. We also do have 30 days a year of paid holidays, carrying on to the next year but under a limit.

Only thing that differs is that we do 37.5 hours/week for a full week. I think senior employees are on a 35 hour basis though. 30 sounds like heaven.

I work 30 hours by choice because it pays me enough to live on and pursue my hobbies. 40 is the standard, but I've dealt with mental illness for years and have had the experience that 35-40 really doesn't help me maintain my mental well-being at this point in my life. Getting this job really was a stroke of luck.

Elephant Ambush
Nov 13, 2012

...We shoulde spenden more time together. What sayest thou?




Nap Ghost

Outrail posted:

'Break a large task into small tasks. Get feedback on small tasks to make sure you're doing the large task right'

Is that what agile is? People pay money to have this explained? Companies need coaching to implement this? Are you loving kidding me?

You would be amazed at what "senior leaders" don't know.

This is why the first thing I talk about with coaching engagements is changing reward systems, flattening the org to get upper management engaged with the people who actually do work, and rewarding people for identifying and eliminating waste. This frequently means "firing or demoting my golf buddy who has been here 25 years and putting the useful people in the little empire he's built into roles where they'll actually add value" and so of course they make up bullshit reasons to keep obviously useless and redundant organizations around instead of doing the right thing for the customers and the company.

The corporate world is hilarious.

SkyeAuroline
Nov 12, 2020



Volmarias posted:

That's an insult raise, it's like throwing pennies at a street performer.

It is the second in eight months that combines to a bit over a 10% raise. So that's something.



nexus6 posted:

We've got team meeting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Pre-covid it was only on a Monday. Every meeting we go through the entire team one-by-one what they're currently working on/what tasks have been completed/what's coming up. There's a chat at the end to bring up anything else not already in the schedule and/or random chitchat. Usually takes about 30 minutes each time.

edit: that's not counting per-project standup meetings, you might also have those on top of these

Yep, we have these every day, complete with the boss trying to shove in random bullshit talk about our personal lives as everyone does their best to refuse to engage at all. Wastes enough of our time (2.5 to 3 hours a week). And of course, not exempted from counting towards our "work time" bringing our hourly times down.

Atopian
Sep 23, 2014

I need a security perimeter with Venetian blinds.

Tekopo posted:

Guess who's never attending a quarterly company meeting ever again?

On the plus side, if challenged you can point to that policy change as evidence that the company doesn't give a poo poo about meetings either.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Atopian posted:

On the plus side, if challenged you can point to that policy change as evidence that the company doesn't give a poo poo about meetings either.

Lol if you think they won't become mandatory (and still unpaid) as soon as attendance drops.

CaptainSarcastic
Jul 6, 2013

HAIL SATAN



I miss the monthly staff meetings most of the time for various reasons, but by some fluke the last one I attended in person was one where I got awarded employee of the month. Like, they had it already printed out and everything, and nobody told me I should attend that one in particular. That was before the pandemic. I think I've attended one, maybe two virtual staff meetings since then.

Dr_Amazing
Apr 15, 2006

It's a long story

You know how teachers used to tell you stuff would go on your permanent record? This is sort of true. Students do have a record of everything they do up through high school. This is called a "cumulative file". For some reason that escapes me, this seems to universally be shortened to "Cum file". I swear I'm not making this up. People pronounce it like the first syllable in "cumulative", but they still write cum. Cum files are often organized in cum folders. There's also rules about who has access to cum files, so they're usually kept in a secure cum room.


When I was still getting my teaching degree, I pointed out how weird this was to some other student teachers. Everyone acted like I was the weird one and that there was nothing strange or funny about it. After years and years of teaching, I've never ever seen a single person comment on wacky this is.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Dr_Amazing posted:

You know how teachers used to tell you stuff would go on your permanent record? This is sort of true. Students do have a record of everything they do up through high school. This is called a "cumulative file". For some reason that escapes me, this seems to universally be shortened to "Cum file". I swear I'm not making this up. People pronounce it like the first syllable in "cumulative", but they still write cum. Cum files are often organized in cum folders. There's also rules about who has access to cum files, so they're usually kept in a secure cum room.


When I was still getting my teaching degree, I pointed out how weird this was to some other student teachers. Everyone acted like I was the weird one and that there was nothing strange or funny about it. After years and years of teaching, I've never ever seen a single person comment on wacky this is.

You're the one talking about keeping track of students cum all the time, don't act surprised that they think you're the weirdo here.

... Is there a cum box?

FUCK SNEEP
Apr 21, 2007





One of the things I worked on at work had a piece of set that definitely had a goatse look to it. I never brought it up because there's no way in hell I'm gonna explain goatse to 50 people.

One of the task steps we use on our assets is 'assembly' which got shortened to 'rear end' so a bunch of files have 'rear end' in their name. They also decided to shorten my groups name 'Pipeline' to 'PP' for our directories. Thanks y'all!!!

Sormus
Jul 24, 2007

PREVENT SPACE-AIDS
sanitize your lovebot
between users


Volmarias posted:

You're the one talking about keeping track of students cum all the time, don't act surprised that they think you're the weirdo here.

... Is there a cum box?

Items confiscated from students over the years go into the cum jars.

Olewithmilk
Jun 30, 2006

What?



gently caress SNEEP posted:

One of the things I worked on at work had a piece of set that definitely had a goatse look to it. I never brought it up because there's no way in hell I'm gonna explain goatse to 50 people.

One of the task steps we use on our assets is 'assembly' which got shortened to 'rear end' so a bunch of files have 'rear end' in their name. They also decided to shorten my groups name 'Pipeline' to 'PP' for our directories. Thanks y'all!!!

PP...PP for my rear end file.

Atopian
Sep 23, 2014

I need a security perimeter with Venetian blinds.

Students have to finish a personal project in order to complete the grade.

So obviously we then have to enter their PP into their cum file before the end of the year.

Neddy Seagoon
Oct 12, 2012

Hi, Everybody!


gently caress SNEEP posted:

One of the things I worked on at work had a piece of set that definitely had a goatse look to it. I never brought it up because there's no way in hell I'm gonna explain goatse to 50 people.

One of the task steps we use on our assets is 'assembly' which got shortened to 'rear end' so a bunch of files have 'rear end' in their name. They also decided to shorten my groups name 'Pipeline' to 'PP' for our directories. Thanks y'all!!!

You cannot tell me some smug little fucker isn't doing that on purpose to see if they can get away with it.

Poil
Mar 17, 2007


Doesn't the freight business use the words shipping and BL (bill of lading) a lot?

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Every time Point of Sale systems come up I giggle. The POS is broken, fix the POS, Let's Work Together to Build a New POS.

Selklubber
Jul 11, 2010


Welcome to Norway, where computer mouse and pussy is the same and normal word for both.

Crackbone
May 23, 2003

Vlaada is my co-pilot.



One of the companies I worked at had a widget management system. They sold that software to two other companies in the hopes of generating more business for us. The software had not been designed for other businesses but the Sales VP pushed it through.
The customization work was massive and they ended up hard forking the code. For non techies this means nothing you did in one system could be ported to the others, so they were basically building three completely separate systems. They had a 100+ person development team working on all the versions.

During a “we’re going to turn this company around” meeting they revealed that all the work of supporting two extra versions of our software netted us about 15k a year in profits, and they had signed long term agreements with each company they couldn’t break.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Crackbone posted:

One of the companies I worked at had a widget management system. They sold that software to two other companies in the hopes of generating more business for us. The software had not been designed for other businesses but the Sales VP pushed it through.
The customization work was massive and they ended up hard forking the code. For non techies this means nothing you did in one system could be ported to the others, so they were basically building three completely separate systems. They had a 100+ person development team working on all the versions.

During a “we’re going to turn this company around” meeting they revealed that all the work of supporting two extra versions of our software netted us about 15k a year in profits, and they had signed long term agreements with each company they couldn’t break.

The important thing is that VP netted $50k from that sale!

Cripes. It sounds like it would be easier to just break the contract and tie it up in court forever.

poisonpill
Nov 8, 2009

The only way to get huge fast is to insult a passing witch and hope she curses you with Beast-strength.



Cue the SVP crying about how that would look bad in front of the customer and that everyone needs to make client satisfaction their #1 goal

Atopian
Sep 23, 2014

I need a security perimeter with Venetian blinds.

I sometimes wonder:
Everyone knows what Sales are like. Everyone can point to the counterproductive stuff that happens as a result.
Why don't more companies try to restructure their bonus/commission structure to make Sales less... Sales?

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007






No one gets fired for buying IBM.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



ultrafilter posted:

No one gets fired for buying IBM.

Not fired but someone got sidelined hard at my old job for buying into the Watson hype and trying to use it in our field.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Atopian posted:

I sometimes wonder:
Everyone knows what Sales are like. Everyone can point to the counterproductive stuff that happens as a result.
Why don't more companies try to restructure their bonus/commission structure to make Sales less... Sales?

Sales is unique among the business areas, in that it is directly measurable how effective each employee is. Engineering, marketing, support, etc don't have direct measurable ways to say "this employee contributed 1.7% to the company's revenue", but sales does. This makes it perfect for commission based employment. It ALSO means that attempting to reign in on the incentives for salespeople to lie can result in your better sellers changing companies, because they're worth it and have the numbers to back it up (or can lie well enough to sell a false reality of themselves)


The way around this that I know of are sales engineers, who can actually discuss whether something is possible and tell the salesjerk "lmao no I won't sign off on this, it's an absurd request unless you add a zero or two." This is, as with all things, contingent on those sales engineers having the power to say no, the ability to say yes, and the intelligence to know which one to choose.

TacticalHoodie
May 7, 2007

Don't care if I broke your heart, ya waifu is straight trash.


I am glad that my Boss saw I was getting a bad case of burn out. He moved my vacation up to this week and told me to turn my phone off and just take it easy for a week. I do have to admit that I have been running my self into the ground since I been working in a office while everyone else I know is WFH. It does not help with the majority of the employees at my warehouse still thinking the covid-19 pandemic is a scam and still complaining about wearing masks to this day. I am thankful I don't have to listen to that poo poo for at least a week so I try to recover from this hellscape I live in.

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Scientastic
Mar 1, 2010

TRULY scientastic.


Atopian posted:

Why don't more companies try to restructure their bonus/commission structure to make Sales less... Sales?

Because regardless of the bonus structure, employees will instantly find the quickest and easiest way to game the system and get the most out of it for the least work. Which is, in fact, the correct ethical approach. So you have to make it so that the sales commission broadly aligns with the company goals, otherwise the sales team will achieve their targets to the detriment of the wider company.

We have a couple of glaring issues with our bonus structure, and the people higher up in the business seem completely puzzled as to why the sales teams are hitting their targets, but the directors (who are targeted differently) are not.

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