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Re: Programming the project

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  • Daniel Gackle
    Hi Boris, ... Exactly. A certain type of mechanical process. ... Yes, that commonly goes along with the fallacy. The point is that here tools are being applied
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2004
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      Hi Boris,

      > I like this observation, you say that we are looking for a process so
      > that we can treat the team as an engine that creates code, right?

      Exactly. A certain type of mechanical process.

      >> (Toolcentric thinking fits into this fantasy because tools are good for
      >> monitoring and controlling machines.)

      > and tools will help us to treat the team in this way, correct?

      Yes, that commonly goes along with the fallacy. The point is that here tools
      are being applied /on/ human beings to suit someone else's design, rather
      than being picked up and employed /by/ human beings in pursuit of their own
      vision.

      >> Of course, the people who design software for computers are not
      >> themselves computers. And while it is fun to make code
      >> constructs, to /be/ a code construct is soul-destroying.

      > very cool observation, does this mean that the code is human? I mean,
      > is language human? In my understanding, code is nothing more than
      > text. A text that is readable by a non human thing. But in fact you
      > could talk in code, right? So maybe our product is not a "product" but
      > a being ein SEIN.

      I like your philosophical bent! Do you agree it's time for a discipline
      "philosophy of software"? There's enough here for a long talk, but I'll say
      this. Code is very different from natural language. As one example, code is
      unambiguous. So the leap from "code" to "human" is dangerous. Code is human
      in the sense that human beings invented it. But there is a chasm between the
      language we produce when we wish to make a computer do something and the
      language we produce to say what /we/ think and feel.

      Also, code /is/ more than text. Or rather, a software program is more than
      code. Two superb articulations of this point of view are Peter Naur's
      "Programming as Theory Building" and Eric Evans' "Domain Driven Design".

      >> Could so elementary a logical error really give rise to billions of
      dollars'
      >> worth of soul-destroying waste? I think it could. Of course, there
      >> are emotional factors driving the logical error.

      > What emotional factors drive this logical error? What do you think?

      One factor is desire for control, to enforce a system that I believe will
      guarantee the result that I want. The trouble is that software development
      doesn't work that way. There are lots of things that don't work that way.
      Imagine what would happen if farmers tried to "program" their fields. When
      we insist on absolute control, we typically end up with /less/ of what we
      desire. But self-deception is just about the most common thing I've observed
      in the software world. No?

      >> Philosophy has well-defined names for common fallacies ("ad hominem" and
      >> the like). Does anybody know which category this one falls in?

      > Not by heard - but I will try to look it up.

      I'd be grateful if you could track that down for me!

      Daniel

      ________________________________________________________________________

      Message: 13
      Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 10:03:39 +0200
      From: Boris Gloger <boris.gloger@...>
      Subject: Re: Programming the project (was: Raising the Bar on Agile
      WANNABEs)

      Hi Daniel,

      since a couple of days I try to find a good answer to your question,
      but I do not find one.


      On Mon, 25 Oct 2004 10:43:45 -0600, Daniel Gackle <gackle@...> wrote:


      [...]

      >
      > There's a common fallacy in the software business. The fallacy says that
      > because software runs on a machine, a project that produces software
      > must also be a machine. Hence the effort to program the people on the
      project,
      > to force them to carry out some formula or code that (it is supposed)
      > will generate the desired output, working software.

      I like this observation, you say that we are looking for a process so
      that we can treat the team as an engine that creates code, right?

      >
      > (Toolcentric thinking fits into this fantasy because tools are good for
      > monitoring and controlling machines.)



      >
      > Of course, the people who design software for computers are not
      > themselves computers. And while it is fun to make code
      > constructs, to /be/ a code construct is soul-destroying.
      >

      very cool observation, does this mean that the code is human? I mean,
      is language human? In my understanding, code is nothing more than
      text. A text that is readable by a non human thing. But in fact you
      could talk in code, right? So maybe our product is not a "product" but
      a being ein SEIN.

      > Could so elementary a logical error really give rise to billions of
      dollars'
      > worth of soul-destroying waste? I think it could. Of course, there
      > are emotional factors driving the logical error.
      >

      What emotional factors drive this logical error? What do you think?

      > Philosophy has well-defined names for common fallacies ("ad hominem" and
      > the like). Does anybody know which category this one falls in?
      >

      Not by heard - but I will try to look it up.

      boris
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