The question I want to raise is whether branching and merging are good tools for an agile development team, or a nuisance.

IMHO, the short answer is nuisance, which is why I push to merge back into the main line at least once a day and try to push/pull just as often.

Branches are inherently about creating isolation

I also agree with this statement which is why feature toggles are an excellent way to create new features without allowing them general adoption.

Like this post? Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.