Sunday, August 31, 2008

No common sense allowed

The summer is over but not quite! You can pick a sense of that, if Agielistas' blogs are getting filled with fundamental ideas and not yet diluted by details, which is inevitable when you get back down the Earth.

It is amazing how resistant software industry is to the common sense. Project after project fail and still people start from the same wrong foot in the same wrong direction, hoping that this time luck will finally turn. Technical debt and understanding software investment as an asset are the best concepts to highlight this misconception.

Would you consider a time, but not lasting quality, as the primary factor for house repairs? Unlikely, especially if it is your primary residence. But "just get things done" is not exception for a software.

Would you borrow without knowing what the conditions are? And find out that interest is 100% payable hourly? But it is OK to take design and coding shortcuts, thus increasing technical debt.

Would you advice surgeon to save time by not washing hands before the operation? As a good professional, he most likely will refuse, even given an order. But developer is expected to cut off "luxurious" practices, such as unit testing and refactoring, when times are tight.

Construction industry has eventually learnt, at a great cost, that there are some practices, which better obeyed, than skipped. Software industry is still young to come to similar realization. Collapsed building makes the news, while collapsed software project is easier to swipe under the carpet. Of course, the culprits will be found and fired. And will lead another project somewhere else.

1 comment:

Chris Barrow said...

I can't begin to convey how true these issues really are. Eventually the software industry will learn to build software using methodologies which are specific for software; however, until it divorces itself from a water fall approach the industry will continue producing sub-par software.

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