While the titular metaphor is a bit strained, the bulk of the article is actually talking about how Agile fails as a “union” by failing to protect workers' interests, and there are some interesting bits that make the whole thing worth reading, I think.
The main flaw—potentially a fatal one—was in framing the purpose of the movement as wholly in service of business goals. Agile protects workers’ interests, but it does this covertly, after obfuscating the antagonism between labor and capital. Agilists found a way to make a business case for protecting workers, and abandoned the old-fashioned moral and political framework of socialists like Braverman. But having done that, they are now vulnerable to the infiltration of dehumanising Taylorism in service of those same business goals. The demand for agility, once turned against management, now returns in its more conventional guise as a focus on worker efficiency and waste.
This mistake in framing now allows the use of Agile to impose aggressive schedules, micromanagement, and an unsustainable working pace. Agile’s defenders like to claim that this isn’t really Agile, or that it’s Agile done wrong–but I think the author hits the nail on the head in pointing out that, because Agile was originally framed in terms of its positive effect on “business value,” it was inevitable that it would end up being used in these days.
I also liked this line:
Agile processes are founded on protecting software engineers’ autonomy, but the lines are drawn in terms of programmers vs. non-programmers, not labor vs. management as in traditional unions. This limits the influence of everyone outside of the software engineering team, not just managers, but also user researchers, interface designers, content strategists, and information architects, pushing these new, crucial functions outside of the team.