Programmer Anarchy by Fred George

The Agile movement shifted the relationship between clients and developers in a profound way. In waterfall processes, clients specified large amounts of functionality, then nervously faded into the background until the fateful day-of-delivery. With Agile, developers strove to engage with clients continuously, and delivered much more frequently against their needs. A new trust was established.

At the Forward Internet Group in London, we are implementing a second major shift between clients and developers. The trust of the clients in developers evolves into a broader trust of the developers to deliver business value without resorting to a series of well-defined stories. In essence, the business has empowered the developers to do what they think is right for the business. This model, popularized by Facebook, has several labels, but the one we prefer for our flavour is Programmer Anarchy.

We will start with stock Agile, and begin to apply environmental factors that led us to drop “standard” Agile practices. We will also watch as well-defined Agile roles evaporate completely as other environmental factors are applied. Finally, we will arrive at Programmer Anarchy, an organization often following none of the standard Agile practices, having no BA or QA roles, and even missing any managers of programmers.

We will summarize our environmental factors, and postulate on the required and optional factors. We will make bold, controversial assertions. We will back up these assertions with actual experiences.

Programmer Anarchy has garnered rave reviews at every conference venue, and is provoking the intended debate on our current Agile thinking.

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