Ask 10 people, get 15 answers

Ask 10 people what "Agile" or "DevOps" means, and you'll get 15 answers. The terms have essentially become meaningless.

I’ve lost most of the love I once had for the term “agile.” Same for “DevOps.”

I still believe in the ideas, don’t get me wrong. The Manifesto for Agile Software Development is a nice document. I agree with the majority of what it says.

And I really like the idea of tearing down the silos between developers and operations people.

But these to terms have come to mean so much more than what they originally meant, that it’s no longer possible to understand anyone who uses these terms. Ask 10 people what “Agile” or “DevOps” means, and you’ll get 15 answers. The terms have essentially become meaningless.

Don’t believe me? Try this:

Imagine someone says to you, “I’m an Agile Coach”. What do they mean?

On one extreme, it could mean that they’ve been developing software for decades, and they have all the battlescars to prove it, and now they’re helping others improve the way they build software.

Or it could be someone who can’t write a Hello-World script to save their own life, don’t know the difference between a Kanban Board and a Smorgasbord, but they spent a week listening to lectures about Scrum, or SAFe, or LeSS, or some other framework-of-the-week, and now they have some fancy letters after their name, so you better lookout, because ain’t nobody safe from their Jira processes—wait-you-forgot-to-fill-in-that-field…no-go-do-it-now-I’m-telling-you… it-really-is-more-important-than-solving-customer-problems…

Or how about “DevOps”? If someone tells you they do “DevOps” work, what does it mean?

It could mean they help companies work on reducing waste, eliminating bottlenecks, and helping disparate teams work more closely together for the benefit of their end users.

Or it could mean that they sit alone in a cubicle, writing YAML files, and complaining when a developer interrupts them, because it’s not their job dammit, get-off-my-lawn-and-go-back-to-your-own-silo…wait-are-silos-cool-again-now-I’m-confused…

Quite literally, both terms have come to mean everything from their original meaning, to THEIR LITERAL OPPOSITES.

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