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Interesting Reading

 
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For your listening and dancing pleasure, a few things I ran across the other night. See if any of them inspire enough admiration or loathing to talk about.

Pair Programming Experiment conducted by the military. Compared to other projects: higher productivity, fewer defects

They Write the Right Stuff The Shuttle software had 17 defects ... in the last 11 releases.

Evidence for Using Iterative and Incemental Development A university lecture brings together findings from many sources.

Craig Larman's Brief History of Iterative and Incremental Development shows concepts dating back to the 30s, software practices solidly in use in the 70s.

The original Paper by Royce that defined waterfall development. And also said it wouldn't work.
[ May 04, 2005: Message edited by: Stan James ]
 
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Good stuff! The waterfall paper is a hoot.

I'm interested in your signature block: I'm certain it's a misquote. Wright wasn't a big believer in blueprints, but was guided by rough-hewn sketches. He did Fallingwater in a day.

I think the proper quote -- which has a much different sense than yours -- is:
<blockquote>
The best friend of the architect is the pencil in the drafting room, and the sledgehammer on the job.
</blockquote>
The quote comes from Herbert Jacobs, who worked with Wright. (See "Building with Frank Lloyd Wright" by Herbert Jacobs, ©1978).

Cheers,

Cope
[ May 04, 2005: Message edited by: James Coplien ]
 
Stan James
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Ha! I do like your version of the quote much better. I don't recall where I found this, but it may well be suspect.

I'm kind of a Wright buff, though not a scholar. I have visited Taliesin East & West, Falling Water and several lesser-known houses. Wright was definitely an experimenter on his own properties, and his teams were very well experienced with the sledge hammer!
 
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Originally posted by Stan James:
Ha! I do like your version of the quote much better.



Me too! I always wondered what the point of the quite in your sig was. Not that wondering about it was a bad thing...
 
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I read the Space Shuttle article. Very interesting, but the author got one important point wrong. He said:

"How do the write the right stuff? The answer is, it's the process."

No.

It's the culture, not the process. Yes, there are elements of process, but that is because the culture drives the process.
Read his next four points; they are all culture, with a veneer of process.

We found in our organizational studies that process is only a reflection of the culture, and is often unstable. Culture, in turn, is a reflection of the values of the organization. In the Space Shuttle software organization, they clearly place high value on the lives of the astronauts...
 
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I'm not so convinced that we should hold up NASA as a great example of the way to work:
1. They spend billions every year, yet seem to get little done (must have something to do with the govt bureaucracy).
2. Private company's, such as Paul Allen's company which recently won the X-Prize, seem to be able to get the job done at a small fraction of the price.
3. I hate to say it, but when was the last time NASA didn't slam the space shuttle into Texas?

Shouldn't we invest time looking at the environments within organizations that are clearly pretty good at developing software? [Heresy]For example, Microsoft?[/Heresy].

- Scott
 
Neil B. Harrison
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Good point, though I don't think any Space Shuttle failures have been attributable to software.

You're right on about looking at organizations that are good at developing software. Actually, that's what Cope and I have been doing for the last ten years -- that's where the Organizational Patterns came from.

Neil
 
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Originally posted by Neil B. Harrison:
Good point, though I don't think any Space Shuttle failures have been attributable to software.


Does Ariane 5 count?
 
Neil B. Harrison
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Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:

Does Ariane 5 count?



Not in this context. The article is about the team in Houston that develops software for the US Space Shuttle.
 
Stan James
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I thought it was interesting how much paperwork they do before they change a line of code. That would be hard to live with for most of us. But it seems to work for them ... at a cost. Contrast that with Kent Beck's paper on Software In Process that describes achieving zero defect rates through faster implementation, not slower.

The shuttle turnaround process (from landing to launch) has a project plan with tens of thousands of tasks. They say the bird doesn't fly until the paperwork is taller than the spacecraft.
 
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