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January 15, 2011


Chris Morris

I guess this proves yet again that naming stuff is one of the hardest things we do. I sorta feel like this is a give up, though - replacing 'agile' and 'software craftsmanship' with 'thing'. I'd say all these conversations are already about the thing.


"I think we need that sort of thing at the macro scale now." Amen. Just one thing - for the avoidance of confusion - how would you define "macro scale"?

- Bob


The "Thing of Software Development" needs more attention. There is still so much work to be done to understand it. Yet, I have discovered that I love helping people learn about this "Thing", almost as much as I love the "Thing" itself. That is why craftsmanship resonates with me. One the concrete practices of software craftsmanship is apprenticeship. I haven't yet found any other approach to software development that take such a holistic approach to mastering the "Thing of software development".

Mario Aquino

I like your "thing" idea. It reminds me of Hamlet... H: "The body is with the King, but the King if not with the body. The King is a thing--" G: "A thing, my lord?" H: "Of nothing..." When I think about great Jazz masters, I am more drawn to their exploration of instincts and the ideas that influenced them than by some guiding principal that any of them lived by. They each had their own way. I once read a Monk quote, "I've never copied anyone, though; just play music.". Some call the "thing" Craftsmanship, and others may give it a different name. But you're right, that the kernel of it is just the thing.

Patrick Morrison

I think the 'thing' is the set of problems and solutions that computers create and resolve, the 'science' of computing and the 'engineering' of the machines and programs that implement that science. Some of this has been captured in books, much of it lies in the muscle memory of its best practitioners.

I do think it is a separate but relating thing to talk about how we, individually and collectively, become better at the 'thing'. I'd agree the 'thing' is paramount, but I think there is a whole separate art/craft/trade/'thing' of conveying and socializing expectations for what makes for professional 'thing'-doers, and it goes beyond the 'thing' itself. To steal Jason Gorman's religion analogy, it's fine to have a set of commandments, but, generally, the practitioners of such things have always depended on communities and buildings and preachers and rabbis and songbooks and... one person showing another the ropes.

Paulo Sérgio

I'm quite convinced that studying the cognitive process and support behind the software craftsmanship is a pretty good bet for a way to go. I suggest reading the chapter 2 of this thesis (http://www2.fas.sfu.ca/ftp/ftp/pub/cs/TH/2002/AWalensteinPhD.pdf) and reflect about it. What you say?

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