Friday, December 31, 2010

Professional Software Development

Prior to reading Professional Software Development by Steve McConnell I thought about Software Development as a career, but not as a Profession. And, although I'm constantly looking for ways to solve the quality and schedule problems that plague software development projects, I never really thought about whether or not a Profession's advantages would/could help solve the problems.

After reading this book I'm looking at software development in a new light.

The author makes a great case for a Software Development Profession, and explains how it can lead to predictable, controllable, economical and manageable projects. He details both the problems and the solutions, and he presents the benefits in a compelling way.

I don't see why software development can't be a profession like Medicine, Law, or Accounting but there are a few challenges:
1. The immaturity of computers and software (which stands out when you compare it to Medicine or Law)

2. The discounting or overlooking of quality, innovation and improvement and their associated benefits

3. The fact that "good enough" software is so prevalent

My favorite parts of the book:
The considerable discussion of "code and fix" development and why it's a common problem

The clear and concise explanation of Fred Brooks article: No Silver Bullets - Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering

The chapter dealing with personnel or human-oriented factors

Anyone concerned about successful software development will gain valuable insights from the book. In addition, the entire industry would benefit by thinking about software development in terms of professionalism.

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