Anyone who works in agile software development knows how important it is to have an issue tracker application. These applications show the issues your team has completed, is working on, and will be working on in the future.
For many teams, Jira is the issue tracker of choice. One of the perceived advantages of Jira is that it serves as a “single source of truth” across an organization. This gives managers an accurate view into the progress, or lack thereof, of an organization against its product development goals.
But is Jira, or any issue tracker application, suited to this role as single source of truth? Is Jira an anti-pattern; poised to attack us when our back is turned?
Do you suspect that your company’s commitment to agile consists of jargon and sloganeering, as opposed to actual organizational and cultural change? Then you would do well to refer to this pamphlet on Detecting Agile BS (pdf) produced by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Advisory Board (DIB) in October of 2018. The DIB established itself to bring the best practices and innovations of Silicon Valley to DoD software development. The pamphlet was the result of luminaries such as Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman, and Neil deGrasse Tyson coming together turning their gimlet eye towards true agile practices in DoD software development.
I’ve excerpted some interesting parts of the pamphlet below and tied in some of my perspectives based on my current TeraThink project at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Full disclosure: TeraThink is a for-profit company, and as such is not 100%-free of BS. However, I like to think we have less BS than most. I’ll detail why through highlighting key flags that a projects is not truly agile.