Marco Dorantes' WebLog

"Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes" -Edsger W. Dijkstra

Software development process is about flow

Software development process is about flow

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Taylorism* still has strong mental roots in the endings of post-industrial era; hence, many still try to reason about the creation process of software-based business solutions in terms of an old-manufacturing mindset: trying to characterize analysis, design, testing as discrete units for some kind of division of labor. But the concept of flow has started to raise awareness, slowly, in our trade. A blog post by Hamed Ahmadi is an instance of such awareness.

For more serious work about this concept of flow, you could find illuminating this work by Alan Shalloway, et. al., about lean-agile development.

State of the art in the creation process of software-based business solutions is so different, in so many aspects, with respect to mainstream views that we professionals of software development should be reloading or upgrading our critical thinking skills in order to improve our beliefs at the pace of the changing circumstances; otherwise, our job skillset could become obsolete faster than we currently think.

*For a brief mention of Taylorism in the context of software development see the article The New Methodology by Martin Fowler.

  • This is an example of an obsessive engineering brain.  Tackling a project is hard enough without having to pick apart and detail theories of the best way to do it.

  • Software development projects are hard, indeed. Experienced people, like Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. [1], have observed that complexity is part of the essence of the task; hence, complexity management is inevitably needed for better results on such projects.

    Complexity management involves systems thinking, engineering thinking, scientific thinking, and critical thinking just as craftsmanship dexterity. But wishful thinking is more part of the problem than of the solution.

    Disregarding the contemplative and reflective mental attitude of trying to forever come up with better ways to conceptualize what we do as software development professionals leave us as those native islanders from the cargo cult software engineering article [2] by Steve McConnell.

    [1] virtualschool.edu/.../BrooksNoSilverBullet.html

    [2] www.stevemcconnell.com/.../eic10.htm

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