Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative
Product Author Bios
Pete McBreen is an independent consultant who actually enjoys writing and delivering software. Despite spending a lot of time writing, teaching, and mentoring, he goes out of his way to ensure that he does hands-on coding on a live project every year. Pete specializes in finding creative solutions to the problems that software developers face. After many years of working on formal and informal process improvement initiatives, he took a sideways look at the problem and realized, “Software development is meant to be fun. If it isn’t, the process is wrong.” Pete lives in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada and has no plans to move back to a big city.
By recognizing that software development is not a mechanical task, you can create better applications.
Todays software development projects are often based on the traditional software engineering model, which was created to develop large-scale defense projects. Projects that use this antiquated industrial model tend to take longer, promise more, and deliver less.
As the demand for software has exploded, the software engineering establishment has attempted to adapt to the changing times with short training programs that teach the syntax of coding languages. But writing code is no longer the hard part of development; the hard part is figuring out what to write. This kind of know-how demands a skilled craftsman, not someone who knows only how to pass a certification course.
Software Craftsmanship presents an alternative—a craft model that focuses on the people involved in commercial software development. This book illustrates that it is imperative to turn from the technology-for-its-own-sake model to one that is grounded in delivering value to customers. The author, Pete McBreen, presents a method to nurture mastery in the programmer, develop creative collaboration in small developer teams, and enhance communications with the customer. The end result—skilled developers who can create, extend, and enhance robust applications.
This book addresses the following topics, among others:
Software Craftsmanship is written for programmers who want to become exceptional at their craft and for the project manager who wants to hire them.
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Dated examples, needs be focus on the problem,
This review is from: Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative (Paperback)The thesis of the book, that Software Engineering has run its course and it is time to return to the master/apprentice approach, starts by citing the early days of software engineering. His working example of large scale software engineering is the SAFEGUARD system completed in 1975. This example is not very timely nor is it representative of a modern large scale development effort. Although SAFEGUARD presented many challenges to the software engineers of the time, it's lessons have long been absorbed into the practice of software engineering. In addition the SAFEGUARD system was one of the early discovery design projects. Not only did new hardware have to be built, but new and innovative software processes invented as well.
Software Craftsmanship presents a view that software developers should return to their craftsman roots in order to deal with the increasing complexity of today's development demands. McBreen makes the case that building software systems requires a set of skills... Read more
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Approaching Programming as a Craft,
This review is from: Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative (Paperback)For a long time, computer programming has seemed to me to be more akin to writing a symphony or a novel than constructing a bridge, despite the fact that the industry has tried to make it like bridge-building by treating programming as "software engineering" and trying to use engineering methodologies to control development. Pete McBreen's book goes a long way toward explaining some of the software development phenomena we see, and why so much software engineering practice doesn't seem to work. I've written test tools for lower-level software, and I've noticed that the usual engineering methodologies do not explain what I've seen -- some people's code is simply better than others with fewer bugs (this variation in programmers has been known for a very long time), and I'm not sure how fundamental improvement can be legislated in a programming department or by the government. The conventional wisdom does not come to address one fact: one of the most important factors in... Read more
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Programmer as Artisan, not Engineer,
This review is from: Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative (Paperback)This is the book for those of us who've read all the standard works on classical software engineering methods and can't lose the suspicion that they're WRONG.
Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative revealed the one important fact about how software engineering was derived from giant government projects in the 60's and 70's that I didn't know: those projects included building the hardware on which the applications would eventually run. The reason for the emphasis on long, detailed requirements and design documentation is that this was the best use of the dead time software engineers had while the machine and its compilers were being constructed. As soon as the box was ready an army of coders was given the detailed design documents and converted them page-by-page into source code.
Programmers who have ever wondered why they were being paid high salaries and then treated as mindless drones now have an historical explanation.
Pete McBreen isn't the... Read more
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Praise For Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative
"McBreen hits the nail on the head! This book is a MUST READ for all CxOs, VPs, Directors, Mangers, and Software Engineers. It will change the way you think about the software development industry and profession." - Newsgroups: comp.software-eng, comp.object, comp.software.extreme-programming
Online Sample Chapter
Table of Contents
I. QUESTIONING SOFTWARE ENGINEERING.
II. SOFTWARE CRAFTSMANSHIP.
III. IMPLICATIONS OF SOFTWARE CRAFTSMANSHIP.
IV. REPOSITIONING SOFTWARE ENGINEERING.
V. WHAT TO DO ON MONDAY MORNING.
Craftsmanship is a return to the roots of software development: Good software developers have always understood that programming is a craft skill. Regardless of the amount of arcane and detailed technical knowledge that a person has, in the end, application development comes down to feel and experience. Someone can know all of the esoteric technical details of the Java programming language, but that person will never be able to master application development unless he or she develops a feel for the aesthetics of software. Conversely, once a person gets the feel for software development, the specific technical details become almost irrelevant. Great developers are always picking up and using new technology and techniques; learning a new technology is just a normal part of the life of a software developer.
The term software engineering was coined in 1967 by a NATO study group that recommended a conference to discuss “the problems of software.” The report from this 1968 conference, which was sponsored by the NATO Science Committee and took place in Garmish, Germany, was titled Software Engineering.1 In the report, Peter Naur and Brian Randell stated, “The phrase ‘software engineering’ was deliberately chosen to be provocative, in implying the need for software manufacture to be based on the types of theoretical foundations and practical disciplines that are traditional in the established branches of engineering.”
In the same spirit, it is the intention of this book to be deliberately provocative in implying the need for practitioners to start paying attention to the craft of software development. Software craftsmanship is important because it takes us away from the manufacturing metaphor that software engineering invokes and makes us pay attention to the people who do software development. Craftsmanship brings with it the metaphor of skilled practitioners intent on mastering their craft, of pride in and responsibility for, the fruits of their labor.
Software craftsmanship is not the opposite of software engineering or computer science. Rather, craftsmanship is a different tradition that happily coexists with and benefits from science and engineering. Just as the modern blacksmith benefits from better tools, materials, and understanding, so software craftsmanship benefits from better computers, reusable components, and programming languages. Just as blacksmiths transcend science and engineering with their skill and artistry, software craftsmanship can transcend computer science and software engineering to produce great programs, applications, and systems. UNIX and the modern-day GNU Linux are probably the best-known examples of this—systems that are thriving due to the craft, skill, and dedication of their creators.
Software craftsmanship is a response to the problems of trying to force-fit software engineering into commercial application development. Software engineering was developed to meet the needs of NATO in developing very large defense systems. Commercial application development differs from the development of defense and government systems in that applications are a whole lot smaller and normally have to be up and running in less than 18 months. It is rare for a commercial application to be developed by a team of more than 20 people, and most application developers work in teams with fewer than 10 members. Software engineering is good at handling the problems of really large teams of 200 or more people, but it has little to say about how the individuals in a team should practice their craft.
Software engineering encourages the “human wave” 2 approach to software development. Rather than solving the problem of how to develop highly skilled developers, software engineering attempts to deskill software development by suggesting that every problem can be solved by throwing more people at it.
Although this approach sometimes succeeds, the resulting software is junk. Slow and bloated, it just never feels right. Users are dazzled by the graphics and animation but never really manage to come to grips with the software. They are thwarted by their inability to learn the software and use only a small fraction of the available features.
Software does not have to be like that.All too often I see application development teams shipping valuable applications that provide real, measurable business benefit, but apologizing for not following software engineering best practices. For me, the real test of a team is whether it manages to ship and then enhance and extend the application for years afterward. Timely shipping of the first release is important, but it is more important that subsequent releases occur in a timely fashion and that each new release improves the application.
Whenever I’m asked about hiring developers, I tell people to look for developers who have shipped a few applications successfully and then stuck around long enough to handle the next enhancement or maintenance release. Shipping proves that the developer can make something work; staying around for the next release allows the developer to experience the effects of the way that he or she built the application in the first place. If a developer has done this three times, my guess is that he or she is skilled and experienced enough in the craft of software development to be successful again.
Software craftsmanship is the new imperative because many members of the software development community are starting to chase technology for its own sake, forgetting what is important. The purpose of software development is to create high-quality, robust software applications that deliver value to their users. What matters is growing a new generation of developers who can do that.
Software craftsmanship stands for putting the joy and excitement back into creating applications for our users.
1 Naur, Peter, and Brian Randell, (eds.), Software Engineering: A Report on a Conference Spnsored by the NATO Science Committee,NATO, 1969.
2 Levy, Steven, Hackers, Penguin Books, 1994, p. 88.
Downloadable Sample Chapter
Click below for Sample Chapter related to this title:
4GLs technology, 87
AAgile Alliance, 115
Agile Methodologies, 115
Analysis paralysis, 129
lifetime commitment, 98-99, 170
members of development teams, 167
initial steps, 97-98
training and mentoring by journeymen, 108
transition to journeymen, 103, 106
versus school, 81-82
versus training, 93-97
contrasted to role in engineering, 40
hindering process innovation, 125-126
one best way, 124-125
standardized development, 123
appropriates uses, 169
Borland Software Craftsmanship, 30, 49, 60, 109-110, 152-153
CCapital goods, software as, 18-20
CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering) tools. See Computer Aided Software Engineering tools
craftsmanship as opposite, 37-38, 41-43
versus licensing, 39-41
COBOL programming language, 88-89
Collaborative software development, 54
team members selections, 147-148
Computer Aided Software Engineering tools
automating software development, 26
speeding development process, 33-34
Customer relationships with software craftsmen
alignment of interests, 67-69
cost/quality tradeoffs, 63-65
developers' moral rights, 59
evaluating developers, 61-63
long-term relationships, 65-67
quality issues, 56-59
realistic delivery dates, 55-56
view of maintenance, 66-67
DDefect potential/defect removal efficiency, software engineering
Defined software development process, 13-15
Design for maintenance, 158-160, 169-170
Design for testability, 157-158
Division of labor, 123-124
mechanical versus intellectual tasks, 20
effect on development process, 6
out of date, 135
EeXtreme Programming software development process, 23
human centered process, 26
unit testing framework, 63
FFaster, better, cheaper, 118, 125
low budget software engineering, 117
Failing differently, 125
Faking rational processes, 127
GGlobal software, 161-162
Good enough software, 51, 53, 64-65
exposing the fallacy, 56-59
mass market challenges, 49
software engineering for masses, 8-9
IIEEE, software engineering definition, 7
Incremental software development, 147
Intellectual tasks, 20-21, 25, 130
Internationalization (I18N) initiative, 161-162
J-KJourneymen, software craftsmen, 82-83
role in development process, 106-108
teaching others after mastery, 90-91
transition from apprenticeship, 103
JUnit, unit testing framework, 63, 158
Kramer prize, 27-28
LLessons from software engineering,
cost factors, 133-134
estimating time/costs, 136-137
interteam communication, 135-136
project size, 131-133
structure of applications, 133
software craftsmanship role, 41-43
versus certification, 39-41
Lusers. See also users
as high status activity, 167-169
designing for, 158-160, 169-170
diagnosing problems, 164-165
hazards in using Java, 160
need for automated testing, 157-158
Open Source versus software engineering views, 66-67
outsourcing alternatives, 167
outsourcing hazards, 165-167
Managing software craftsmen
developers as knowledge workers, 71
neo-Taylorism management model, 69, 71-72
planned obsolescence, 75-76
PSP (Personal Software Process), 71
retaining experienced developers, 73-75
scientific engineering, 69-70, 119-122
setting expectations, 76-77
value of developers, 70-71
Mass-market challenges, 48-49
achieving mastery, 76, 89-90
mastery requirements, 81-82, 85-88, 173-174, 178
passing on craft, 90-91
small development teams, 60
taking on apprentices, 90-91
Mechanical tasks, 17-20, 72, 113, 119, 123
contrasted with intellectual tasks, 121, 130
Mission profiles from customers, 65
Modular decomposition, software engineering, 132
Multilingualization (M17N) initiative, 161-162
NNeo-Taylorism management model, 69, 71-72. See also scientific management
OObsolescence (planned) in software development, 75-76
Open Source software development
developers' reputations, 42-43
managing software craftsmen, 75-76
tools preferred by craftsmen, 160-161
view of maintenance, 66-67
PPlanned obsolescence in software development, 75-76
craftsmen point of view, 163
PSP (Personal Software Process), 71
QQuantified software engineering, 13-14
Quattro Pro for Windows development team, 152-153
RRAD tools, 87
discouragement of collaboration and reuse, 95
hazards of reuse over time, 122-123
software factories, 122-123
SSAFEGUARD Ballistic Missile defense System
example of software engineering, 3-4
large projects, atypical, 4-5
Schedule chicken, software delivery dates, 56
Scientific management, 69-70
denigrating anecdotal evidence, 120
encouraged by software engineering, 119-120
problems of best practices, 124-125
software factories, 121-122
SCRUM software development process, 13
focus on individuals, 41-43
inspiration to developers, 35
learning environment, 171-173
longevity of craft tradition, 83
monetary compensation, 149-152
practicing craft reflectively, 178
quality product results, 152-153
signing our work, 52-53
software, ease of copying, 48-49
specialization's narrow role, 80
traditional craftsmanship, 28-29
value of experience, 86-87
versus software engineering, 83, 108, 111-112
Software crisis, identified at 1968 NATO conference, 1
CASE tools, 26
CASE tools, attempting to speed process, 33-34
software engineering, alternatives, 25-26
software engineering, limited applicability, 23-24
software engineering, versus software craftsmanship, 83
Agile Methodologies alternative, 115
alternatives, 16, 25-26
approach questioned, 1-2
approaches, standardized, 123-126
budget constraints, 117-118
COBOL programming language, 88-89
criteria for choosing approach, 8-9
defect potential and defect removal efficiency, 11-12
effective methods, 109-110
example, SAFEGUARD Ballistic Missile defense System, 3-4
limited applicability, 23-24
low budget, 117-118
maintenance, Open Source view, 66-67
modular decomposition, 132
neglect of people component, 126-128
projects, diversity and variation, 114-115
projects, size, 112-114
projects, small teams unsuitable, 130
requirements, documentation, 6
reusable software fallacy, 122-123
scientific engineering management, 119-122
software factories, 121-122
systematic and quantified as characteristics, 13-14
versus software craftsmanship, 83, 108, 111-112
waterfall development, 113, 128-130
Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK), 39
Software Engineering Institute, limitations of software engineering, 23
Software factories, reusable software fallacy, 122-123
Specialization, software engineering, 80
Standardized software development, 123-126
SWEBOK (Software Engineering Body of Knowledge), 39
TTeamwork in software development, 20
design for testing, 157-158, 169-170
development team role, 149
eXtreme Programming, 63
good enough software, 57
JUnit, unit testing, 63, 158
project length assessments, 22
quality trade-offs, 63
Training, software craftsmen, 81-82. See also certification; licensing
course selection criteria, 96, 174-176
decline in quality, 93-94
learning programming versus writing applications, 95-96
university courses, 94-95
UUsers. See also lusers
accepting bad software, 53-54
relationship with software craftsmen, 50-51
User interfaces, 163-164
WWaterfall software development, 113, 128-130
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