Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Other Side

I really don't want to promote this guy's blog, but in the interest of fairness, I'll show the other side of the coin. This post describes why a business man believes Microsoft needs more process and more beurocracy, not less.

They just don't get it. There is a known connection between process and productivity, one that until recently I forgot. When labor unions want to strike, but cannot for whatever reason, they often strike "by the book." What this means is that they follow the process manual to the letter. Basically, no work gets done because all of the process gets in the way. It is a very effective tactic. The same holds true for companies, as process is added, productivity drops. The blog talks about the problems with bugs in the old MS software and how process should fix that. WRONG. You can't "process" the bugs out of the system. The delayed release of Vista, Monad, and Office 12 because of bugs shows that process doesn't help that. Instead, it drives away your best developers, causing MORE bugs, not fewer. It just goes to show that business people don't understand the relationship between quality craftsman and quality craftsmanship. They like to think in assembly lines and mass production. I hate to tell them, but the software industry isn't there yet, and may never be.

Of course, many companies don't need the best. They can settle for a prefabricated home instead of a custom built mansion. However, if you're life's work is hosting parties, then you better opt for the mansion and you better make sure it is built well. The same goes with software companies. If you're life's work is making great software, then you better hire and retain the best in the business.

1 comment:

fCh said...

Tanton, I think you might have well misunderstood my posting on the connection between buggy software and more process at MSFT. I was making a point about the introduction of more processes as the reaction of management to customer complaints and nothing else.

Where I DO think you need to follow process is when developing BIG/ENTERPRISE software. Due to the involved complexity and the nature of integration work, what else but process can get you out of a modern age Tower of Babel?

Anyway, thank you for your comparative perspective. More info on you background as programmer would definitely help.

Cheers, fCh