Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekend Reader, Week 16

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About the Software Architect:

"Software Architect" places in the top ten of most annual surveys of best jobs, yet no clear path exists from Developer to Architect.

Do we really need that path? Is anybody expecting a clear path from plumber to architect in the construction analogy?

Are architects just a concept to offer developers a career path?

I have been in the industry for a long time now, and I did not see two companies/projects where “Architect” had the same interpretation. But do we really need architects? I am sceptical … I would argue that we need people that care about stuff. And not everybody can care about everything, so the “Architect” should care more about the high-level, holistic perspective while others care more about low-level perspectives. But I doubt there should be a clear path that leads from the one to the other. It’s just an agreement that somebody should care about this and somebody else should care about that.

And the role of an architect in Agile is another interesting topic:

Putting an architect in a scrum team is like putting mayonaise in cake - Christin Gorman from Roots conference on Vimeo.


About the Foreman

Uncle Bob (Robert Martin, one of the authors of the Agile Manifesto) has some come up with an interesting interesting idea: Software projects needs a foreman. In the initial proposal of Uncle Bob, the foreman is the only person that commits code to the project, other developers send him pull requests. In a follow-up post 'Oh Foreman, Where art Thou?’ Uncle Bob relaxes his initial proposal a bit: The foreman has the ultimate responsibility over every commit, but others might commit directly.

For me this is a drastic departure away from the notion of an empowered, self-organizing team that is the foundation of Agile software development. In my opinion, if we introduce the notion of the foreman, then we build a big obstacle in fostering an intrinsically motivated, self-organising and responsbility-embracing team and take a big step back towards tayloristic understanding to work and responsibilities. I don’t believe the tayloristic approach fits an industry relying on knowledge workers.


The obligatory quote of Steve Jobs: 

Great companies have to be run by ideas not by hierarchy. Otherwise good people won’t stay.


However it seems a bit contradictory to the general myth of the management style of Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates, i.e. voiced in episode 963 of .NET Rocks:

Steve Jobs ruled by dictatorship while Bill Gates ruled by committee, which allowed Apple do do things that Microsoft could never do.


The demise of "The Enterprise" 

In Consumerization of Computing (german) Philip asks how long the enterprise will still be relevant for vendors like Apple and Samsung.

'The Enterprise’ has lost its grace big time in the last decade. When I started my career over a decade ago, the big challenges for a programmer seemed to be in big enterprise systems. Nowadays the big challenges and innovation seems mostly to be in consumer facing applications on the web and in mobile.

The most tragic manifestation of the descent of the enterprise is the “Enterprise Mode” in Internet Explorer 11, which basically allows enterprises to remain in the stone-age of Internet Explorer 8.

The notion  of "the Enterprise" already became a running gag in the industry:

Jeff Attwood on Stackoverflow Podcast 41.

In corporate environments the product don't have to be good. Sometimes they don't even have to exist ... if you are a thoughtful developer, you are in the wrong place!


The Story of Ashton by Joel Spolsky:

On the morning of his two year anniversary at the cubicle company, Ashton was driving to work when he realized something.
Not one line of code that he had written had ever run.
Not one thing he had done in two years of work made any impact on the world.


It Takes 6 Days to Change 1 Line of Code

It's the first Enhancement in the Developer Queue, after 14 Bug Reports.


Herding Code 102:

Scott: What is the penetration of Node.js into the "enterprise"? 
Tim: It depends on what you mean by "enterprise"?
Scott: Large, slow moving corporations.


Martin Fowler defining Enterprise Systems:

Business rules are given to you as they stand, and if you want to change them you need sixty-seven meetings and three vice-presidents retiring.


Final Gem: Mr. Hanselman is just a great presenter:

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