Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Permanent Crisis

Maybe it's just my selective perception, but it seems in the last weeks there has been a burst in interesting IT industry topics which did not only cover technology.
  1. Uncle Bobs move towards more governance and how meriotocracy might not be the right solution if myths and stereotypes persist
  2. The question whether estimation is evil, if we should stop using the word Agile and why software development still sucks
  3. Fowlers Micro-services and the "history repeating" argument about SOA
Despite the obvious lack of reason in most of the discussions*, for me they also have something else in common: They're all about trends a new generation of coders have embraced particularly dogmatic in the last 5-10 years which seems to reveal they are no silver bullets in fact. It's like all the hype cycles ended up in the Trough of Disillusionment at the same time.

Are we still in software crisis?

At Baruco 2012, Paolo Parrotta diagnosed wittily: Software Crisis? You cannot be in crisis for 20 years! 

It's been 54 years.

Maybe software development just does not get really better? Maybe we are moving just with the real world, like everyone else, not being "special" or "visionary" by definition but actually just normal people with (or without) a degree in computer science, influenced by the same socioeconomic value shifts and biases? Maybe, as Software Is Eating The World, software just becomes as chaotic as the world itself?

Yes, the field improves but it's a little signal in a lot of noise. I am currently writing a book on building architecture vs. software architecture, which is why I haven't been blogging recently. It's not that I want the ideas to sell, no, a book does not bring you much money. But I see that I have to think ideas through, reading stacks of books, old notes dating back 5 years, re-reading articles and posts. And I see some improvement while doing this. But I also see many themes repeat over and over again. Sadly, instead of agreeing on a common sense, views seem to become more dogmatic and further apart. It's always the same pattern (The Excel Pattern):

Someone has a simple idea. Followers who believe in control systems and analytic engineering turn it into a methodology. Someone else sees the methodology and has a simpler idea. Then, both the old idea and methodology are declared evil.

As long as we are not working on the core biases and expectations towards software engineering and architecture this vicious circle will never stop and work towards real improvement, in technology as well as in team building, fairness and business value. Maybe this will turn IT into an art thereby. That's the risk we should be willing to take.

My current book stack - wish me luck:

*) But slowly returning, the original posts were mostly reasonable though