September 28, 2006
MadnessWe like to think that what seperates us from the apes is our ability to reason. Business people in particular suffer from this delusion. Graphs and pie charts and endless bloody tables of facts and figures create an illusion of scientific rigour. The reality is that much of what we do in business is highly irrational. Even in the apparantly logical and rational industry of computing, there's no escape from the madness. Here are the five nuttiest things we do in software development:
1. Working in Open-Plan Offices. Writing software requires large amounts of concentration. Concentration can be easily broken by even the smallest distractions. "Hey, I have a great idea: let's put a bunch of people who do a job that require lots of concentration in an environment where there are almost constant interruptions. Yes, that will work..."
2. Trying to explain complex things using words. Why pay $15 to see the latest Peter Jackson movie when you can get a bunch of people to describe it to you for a mere $15,000? I mean, it's pretty much the same thing, isn't it?
3. Hiring cheap developers. You're up on a murder charge. You could be facing a lifetime behind bars. Do you look for the cheapest lawyer you can find? Apparantly so, if you're anything like 90% of project managers.
4. Putting all your eggs in one basket. "Yes, this project is super-duper-business-critical. Billions of dollars are at stake. Which is why it's absolutely imperative that we invest all of our budget in a single, untried solution that the users won't be able to prvide feedback on until all the money's spent and it's too late to make any changes - just to be on the safe side..."
5. Committing to arbitrary deadlines and then screwing the project to try and meet them. What's going to happen on Jan 1st that's so damn important that we have to almost kill ourselves to hit that deadline? I'll tell you what: the guy in charge getting his bonus for delivering on Jan 1st, that's what...
Posted 14 years, 3 months ago on September 28, 2006