Re: Standard Design and Development Methodologies

Lew <>
Fri, 25 Nov 2011 20:07:29 -0800 (PST)
Arne Vajh=F8j wrote:

Lew wrote:

There's a comprehensive little pamphlet reviewing various software
development methodologies called /Wicked Problems, Righteous Solutions/
by DeGrace and Stahl, 1990, that is as relevant today as when first

Its main conclusion, after a very neutral overview of the extant pet
theories, is that successful methodologies rest on two key features:
an individual who maintains the project architecture and structures
in his/her own mind,

It is obviously correct.
But it is not very useful.
Creating good software when one person can understand the
entire app is the easy problem.
Creating good software when one person cannot understand the
entire app is the hard problem.

You are correct, but bear in mind that I provided only a very few words of =
summary for a rather detailed, patient analysis and set of conclusions in t=
he original work. Before judging their conclusions you might want to be su=
re that you understand their point more directly than by hearsay from a ver=
y cursory precis.

As best I understand the book it is their conclusion that even the second c=
ase requires a person to understand the entire app. This apparent paradox =
is resolved by understanding that the overview knowledge, while detailed, i=
sn't necessarily atomic. It's a matter of someone exercising a form of lea=
dership to assure consistency and a certain focus in a project. By analogy=
, the chief executive of a nation need not understand necessarily every sin=
gle detail of every action occurring in every corner of their realm, but th=
e should have a keen grasp of the nation as a whole and a vision for its di=
rection. This is the sort of "understand the project" that I infer and rem=
ember from the book.

I conclude that a project that grows beyond such a vision needs to have fra=
ctal subprojects that fit within such scope and operate with some autonomy.

This is a direction that might address the valid point you raised. I recom=
mend the book not so much to endorse its conclusions as to commend its even=
-handed and comprehensive analysis and the segregation thereof from the aut=
hors' agenda or theories. While it draws conclusions in the latter part of=
 the book, it does not go so far as to recommend anything. They have no pe=
t buzzword or system to promote, only observations as to what works and fai=
ls under different methodological structures. It's a foundational work.

As to how "useful" their conclusions are, I'll let you judge for yourself a=
fter you've bypassed the filter of my reporting. I'd be surprised if you m=
aintained your dyspeptic view after that.


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