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It's not a science project

Patrick Logan: "Software tends to "accrete" (in the worst way) rather than change, because we developers tend not to pay attention to the limitations we are imposing on our systems".

That's much too convenient. It's tedious to incessantly see developers or "IT", as groups, get the rap for shortsighted upstream decisions. Plenty of developers understand exactly the limitations they're imposing, but imposed schedule pressures dictate they have little or no choice. This notion that the "business" is the set of stakeholders that are not technical is something to be questioned. Non-technical stakeholders are often worst placed to make decisions about what software should and should not do.

May 27, 2007 10:47 PM


Dan Creswell
(May 28, 2007 08:04 AM #)

Dave Smith, you're right on the money.

Geoffrey Wiseman
(May 28, 2007 05:35 PM #)

It could be argued that this is why it's good to use methods that try and avoid pitting business users and developers on opposite sides of the fence, but to try and merge them into a team whose deliverable is the working software.

Setting up that "fence" over which rationale and blame can be tossed is probably the first mistake.

Bill de hOra
(May 28, 2007 06:27 PM #)

Patrick, this is the sole theme in software practice that makes me think software development needs to become a recognized profession - equally to control errant customers and project managers, as well as ensure a level of comptetency.

I can't comment on your blog without a login, but as you followed up with this:

"If you build bad stuff it is *your* fault. Period."

I missed the memo which said the developer is the only accountable stakeholder! Here's an easy comeback,

"If you demanded bad stuff it is *your* fault. Period."

I can do this all day; I know you can too. Do note I'm well aware that the average ability in development is skewed towards the weaker end (cf McConnell).

Clearly our respective field experience runs the gamut. I'm not sure I've disagreed with you on /anything/ before, but the best I can say about the way you're allocating responsibility is, sans a profession of software development , it will not result in better software. I lean towards Dave Smith's position as being pragmatic given sufficient iterations, but I can't say I like it, as it's ultimately wasteful.

(May 28, 2007 10:24 PM #)

I agree with Dave as well to a great extent. The developer's responsibility is to lay out the cost / benefit of the choices. They often are not "the decider".

From what I have seen, though, people tend "to build bad stuff" without offering choices to their deciders.

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