Beer fueled development

Our project at work is moving to the stressful, painful phase at the end. It was a project that I call agile under a waterfall. This is a large project, say 12 to 18 months, that someone envisions with a big bang ending. The end of the project usually amounts to the flipping a giant light switch. The expectation under this sort of project is, of course, that you will build up something so perfect that when you flip the light switch, it comes on with that beautiful incandescent glow. This is hard to do. So, people who have done agile development decide that it should be done in an agile manner. So, they put the agile under the waterfall.

In our case, this means iterations, TDD, and Scrumm. These are all things I enjoy. These are all things I like. These are all things that work well. The problem is that "release often" is a critical piece of any agile project. The big bang release does not tolerate lots of mini releases. Generally this creates a very frustrating atmosphere. We are in the throes of the Big Bang at the moment. Wishing we were agile knowing we are not and dreaming of finishing so that we may begin being truly agile.

This leads me to beer fueled development. As work becomes more stressful, especially the end of a project where integration has been poor. People begin to chafe. People began to backstab. People began to whine. People need a beer. Beer. Fueled. Development.

The basic idea is that you try and build team camaraderie through food and drink and extra work activity. While this can be sponsored by the job, it should in no way be managed by the company. The idea is that workers can get away, complain, laugh, cry, and talk about anything. This is sort of built on the idea that people who eat together don't hate each other quite as much. I've read, though I can't recall where, that this is some sort of inherent human trait like nursing.

I prefer to be done with alcohol all the natural social lubricant. Thus beer fueled development. If you and your compatriots are really not into alcohol, then at least get away from work on an evening after a stressful day, have some chicken wings and build those bonds.


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