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Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 1) 803

by JohnFen (#49744495) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

Maybe 20 years ago... New toll systems have few manned toll booths and don't require traffic to slow or stop.

Yes, but that's in exchange for the massive privacy invasion that results from using toll transponders and/or license plate readers. I don't see that as an improvement at all. It's just the opposite.

Comment: Re:Agile. (Score 1) 507

by JohnFen (#49691347) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

But you know, development isn't about making developers 100% happy. It's about product.

Of course I know (and agree) with this. However, when (as has been my experience) agile actively makes developers unhappy in addition to reducing productivity, the product will inevitably suffer.

My experience (both as a PM and developer) has been that Agile projects tend to take longer to produce a worse product.

If the developers have no measurable yardstick to judge their progress, or middle management collects a bunch of meaningless metrics which don't help the development process ... you're doing it wrong.

True, but all of that has little to do with Agile specifically.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 4, Interesting) 507

by JohnFen (#49691253) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

None of those are failings of waterfall at all. There is nothing about waterfall that requires you to make ironclad decisions at the very start, and there is nothing that prevents you from adapting the course of development as the project proceeds.

In other words, you aren't describing waterfall in your comment. Yes, I'm invoking the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, since that is usually what is invoked when Agile is criticized.

The real truth is that all methodologies can be done well or poorly, including waterfall and agile. The difference that I've seen in practice is that it's incredibly hard to implement Agile correctly (such that I've never seen it done), but implementing waterfall correctly is not a huge chore.

Comment: Re:Agile. (Score 2) 507

by JohnFen (#49690661) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

I'll split down the middle of this. In the agile shops I've worked in, there has been a consistent strong aversion to producing documentation that is actually useful: design specs, etc. However, there has also been a consistent trend to dramatically increase the amount of worthless documentation: documenting the process itself (encouraged by tools like Version One).

Comment: Re:All development methods are flawed (Score 1) 507

by JohnFen (#49690539) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

And when you begin a large software development effort with 50 other developers???

I agree with your underlying point, that if the team consists of just one or two developers, then process becomes less important (but still important). However, if the team consists of 50 developers, that's a serious problem all by itself, no matter what process is in use.

Comment: Re:Agile. (Score 1) 507

by JohnFen (#49690459) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

Serious developers don't care about the process and don't want it in their way

This can't be overstated. A great process is a process that is nearly invisible to developers, allowing us to get on with the development with minimal friction. Agile presents a great deal of friction. It is a process apparently designed to please middle management at the expense of developers.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 4, Interesting) 507

by JohnFen (#49690365) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

Are we going to go back to Waterfall?

In my experience, that would be greatly preferable to Agile.

But Agile works better than any other methodology that I have used, even when implemented piecemeal, by mediocre programmers, rather than in its "ideal form".

My experience is just the opposite: agile is very nearly the worst of the methodologies I've used. The one great thing about it is something that can be done in any methodology: increased communications. We can throw out the bathwater and keep that baby.

Comment: Yes (Score 4, Insightful) 507

by JohnFen (#49690179) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

Agile started failing pretty much as soon as it met the real world. I disagree with Andy Hunt's explanation of why, though. It's not because "thinking is hard", it's mostly because of two things: management not allowing agile to be done correctly, and (from the developer's point of view) it drains software engineering of the things that make it a satisfying and enjoyable activity, turning it into the software equivalent of grunt factory work.

Comment: Re:You cannot know *WHO* is voting (Score 1) 258

by JohnFen (#49690065) Attached to: Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem

End the antiquated requirement for anonymous ballots

There's nothing antiquated about anonymous ballots. Voting secrecy is as critical now as it has ever been, for all of the same reasons: to minimize reprisals from friends, family, employers, and the government for voting "the wrong way", and to decrease the ease with which people can be coerced or bribed to vote a particular way (since the ones doing the bribing or coercing can't verify that you voted the way they want.)

Comment: Re:most techies will perceive it that way (Score 1) 461

by JohnFen (#49685027) Attached to: Does Using an AOL Email Address Suggest You're a Tech Dinosaur?

What about all the people that can ONLY get AOL in their rural areas (the Comcast "go fuck yourself" zones)?

I don't believe there exists any place in the nation where your only choice for internet service is AOL. There are many other dialup providers that are a local phone call from pretty much everywhere.

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340

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