Once upon a time, Mr Feathers the Chicken Farmer made a decision.
After much reading and consideration he decided he would go "free range".
It was not just the fashionable thing to do, he concluded, but the right thing to do. Right for the chickens and right for business: everyone knew that contended cows produce more milk and that happier programmers write better code, so surely happy chickens would lay more eggs? They would, wouldn't they?
His first step was to build a fence around his chicken sheds - he wanted the chickens to roam free, but not run away. Then he opened up the chickens' cages and then the shed doors and let them run free.
But - surprise, surprise - it seemed that the chickens did not want to run free. After some consideration, Mr Feathers realised that want had nothing to do with it: the chickens did not know how to run free. Their "free range" muscles were weak and they were too nervous to step outside their cages. Instead, they stood there and looked at the farmer as if to say "What the Flock?".
Soon, with a little "encouragement" from Mr Feathers, they did.
The chickens wandered about inside the sheds, pecking nervously at their surroundings, bok-bok-boking as they went. But then, when they reached the shed door, they just stood there and looked outside unsure what to do. They'd never seen the outside before. They'd never seen grass before. But then, with for no need for "encouragement", one brave chicken placed one foot outside … and then her other foot … and then, when nothing bad (like the sky falling down) happened to her, she kept going. Moments later the entire flock following along behind her.
From then on the chickens happily spent every daylight hour outside, scratching, eating worms, and doing chicken stuff. Their "free range" muscles slow strengthened and they updated their resumes to include the words "scrum", "agile" and "kanban". They felt more productive. They felt more empowered. They felt more collaborative. They didn't understand these words, but then again … they were chickens. The farmer, happy with his experiment, moved their food outside. The chickens definitely seemed happier. He couldn't know for sure but why wouldn't they? Isn't this the natural way to build software grow chickens?
One downside, which Mr Feathers didn't mind so much, was that the hens laid their eggs outside and it took him longer to collect them. He didn't mind because the eggs seemed (to him and his wife) tastier … and surely that was good for business? Maybe they tasted nicer, maybe it was a trick of the mind. Whatever it was, it was most certainly a marketing opportunity! The farmer stamped "free range" on the egg boxes and doubled their price. His customers, it turned out, were happier to pay higher prices. They said the eggs - being free range - tasted nicer.
Eventually Mr Feathers the Chicken Farmer retired and sold his farm. The new owner, a man with a long history of managing chicken farms in the "traditional" way, didn't like this new "free range" malarky. It looked untidy. It lacked "rigour". He did not trust that the chickens were working hard enough - they didn't look like they were. What was that stupid old farmer thinking? He put the chickens back in the cages. THE END.