Better coordination, or better software?

TL;DR: When different parts of an organization need to coordinate, it seems like a good idea to help them coordinate smoothly and frequently. Don’t. Help them coordinate less — more explicitly, less often. Software systems get big, and they have lots of parts, and those parts need to talk to each other. Maybe we’re building …

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Project to Product asks more of our software, and more of us

TL;DR: Projects ask teams do what is asked of them; Products ask teams to invent their work. This requires a different way of seeing the world, and not everyone can do it yet. Software is not an up-front investment that pays off over its use. Software is an ongoing concern, an intricate piece of a …

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Nonlinear increases in complexity make unification excruciating.

TL;DR: When you want to build one platform for all your lines of businesses: stop. Don’t. Build systems for each instead. Keep the integrated parts as small as possible. This minimizes costs, while enabling change. A global, unified platform to support all our lines of business! Doesn’t that sound glorious? CIOs puff out their chests. …

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One Secret to Quality Software

They ask us for quality. What is “quality”? “Well, free of defects.” (Oh it’s a lot more than that.) What is a “defect”? “Well, when it doesn’t work like we expect it to. Like we agreed it should.” Trust me, you didn’t specify how it works. That’s my job, as a developer. To organize all …

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Soft, or hard like mud

Soft skills are hard. “They take work to build and work to apply.” @ruthmalan The word “hard” describes sciences like physics and chemistry. It is confusing that “hard” can mean difficult, because these sciences aren’t more difficult than the “soft” ones like sociology and anthropology. They’re differently difficult. The “hard” sciences are hard because they’re …

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