Digital Bureaucracy

By now, for anyone that has used heavy handed project management tools like Jira or Tfs, it should be clear that process is not driven by management or even theory. It falls out of the technology that you choose to govern yourself. It is the tool that you use to manage your work that constrains you, not your manager or any corporate policy. Your tool is the square hole that every round peg must be forced through. Again. And again. And again. It is the the very wall that bloodies as you pound your head against it — ever immovable.

Consequently, the battle for real power in a software organization is lost or won when the first check is written to Attlassian or Microsoft or who ever else authors the electronic version of the sticky notes you put on the side of your monitor. Now the sticky notes travel across a flashing kanban board on a monitor mounted over your desk. The notes travel with the weight of a dozen required tags and annotations. They are tracked, estimated and gathered into a multitude of meaningless reports.

If you don’t like it, you can complain. Your manager may even agree that it isn’t ideal. “But, that’s the way the tool works, so we’ll just stick to it anyway. It’s too much trouble to change.” And thus we see the great tragedy played out again, as millions of workers are forced through the bureaucratic hell of the new generation. Pushing bits instead of paper, but wasting themselves nonetheless.