REdeploy (for the first time)

The inaugural REdeployConf wrapped up yesterday (as I write this). I’m already feeling withdrawal from intense learning and conversations. I’ll attempt to summarize them in this post. The RE in REdeploy doesn’t mean “again” (lo, it is the first of its kind). RE stands for Resilience Engineering. It is a newish field, focused on sociotechnical …

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Systems and context at THAT Conference

It’s all that THAT Conference is not THOSE conferences. It’s about the developer as more than a single unit: this year, in multiple ways. I talked about our team as a system — more than a system, a symmathesy. Cory House said that if you want to change your life, change your systems. As humans, our greatest power …

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When knowledge is the limiting factor

In Why Information Grows (my review), physicist César Hidalgo explains that the difference between the ability to produce tee shirts vs rockets is a matter of accumulating knowledge and know-how inside people, and weaving those people into networks. Because no one person can know how to build a rocket from rocks. No one person understands …

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the future of software: complexity

The other day in Iceland, a tiny conference on the Future of Software Development opened with Michael Feathers addressing a recurring theme: complexity. Software development is drowning in accidental complexity. How do we fight it? he asks. Can we embrace it? I ask. Complexity: Fight it, or fight through it, or embrace it? Yes. Here, …

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Collective problem solving in music, art, science, and software

Or: the Origins of Opera and the Future of Programming. (video, or TL;DR, or abstract) At the end of this post is an audacious idea about the present and future of software development. In the middle are points about mental models: how important and how difficult they are. But first, a story of the origins …

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Not “why”

“Why” is a terrible word because it’s overloaded. Often when we ask “why” we mean “for what purpose” — we’re looking for intention. In the bigger questions (bigger than one person’s decision), that doesn’t make sense. “Why do we let people buy those dangerous guns?”In a system the size of our country, there is no “for what …

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