Saturday, February 03, 2007

2007-02-03 Software is hard...

There's an interesting article on salon.com: Software is Hard

I've been involved in software development efforts for the last 20+ years...over half of that time as a leader or manager - often still directly contributing to the coding effort.

Three of my most productive and successful periods of software development were done with none of the heavy processes that are quite often mandated in large mature organizations. Budgets were tight, production environments demanded rapid responses to competitive threats, resources were scarce. Under those conditions the teams excelled. In larger organizations, with massive budgets, and heavier processes - the results were more often than not: "crash and burn".

A handful of use cases, a good data model, the best talented developers you can afford, strong end-user involvement, and a strong architect leading the charge are what I have found works best time-after-time.

Too often, organizations that foster a culture of design by consensus via a committee - invariably end up burning 2x+ of their budget - and never produce any software that is actually deployed into production.

Case in point: U.K. Dept of Health: Prescription for Disaster

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