Great post by Tom Kyte (well-known Oracle guru and author of Ask Tom) – No Silver Bullet – he reflects back on an article that he read in 1987 that there is no Silver Bullet in software development and made some predictions about the future. I was 10 at the time that was written and more interested in GI Joes – my family had likely purchased our first computer maybe a year before or so (Tandy 1000 SX – 8 Mhz – 640k (that was with the more memory my Dad had purchased) – and two 5 1/4 floppy drives – no HDD). Almost 20 years later the author was amazingly accurate. Despite all of the advances today in languages, IDEs, standards, etc… software development is still a very inexact science.
A brand new freeway is being built not too far from my house and I often marvel at how much detail goes into such efforts – same with buildings (the BOB in Phx for example) – tons of intricacies – you have the rough infrastructure involved as well as the smallest details. I can see a lot of similarities with building software. Builders seem to have the same challenges as software engineers – being on time is a challenge. Thankfully software engineers for the most part don’t have to deal with weather variability – I don’t know how those builders get anything done when it is 110+ here in the Valley of the Sun!
One note from Tom’s post and the article that I thought was particularly insightful
My first proposal is that each software organization must determine and proclaim that great designers are as important to its success as great managers are, and that they can be expected to be similarly nurtured and rewarded. Not only salary, but the perquisites of recognition office size, furnishings, personal technical equipment, travel funds, staff support must be fully equivalent.
Great designers, not coders. People who can put it all together. I think he got that right (but we still arent there yet).
There were some great comments on this as well – I can’t say AMEN to this loud enough!!