Monday, January 17, 2011

The Path Already Taken

been thereI’ve gone from Michael Feathers’ post to Dan North’s post and then to Jason Gorman’s. If I need to choose a side, I’m definitely on Dan North’s side. 

As I was reading these posts,they seemed familiar. The holy wars and the calls to stop them, the call to better developers to separate themselves from the commons, forget the factions and concentrate on software..

And then it hit me!  

I recognized the resemblance of the craftsmanship movement to another movement: Alt.Net. It started out with good intentions, talked itself to death, and was finally left to itself, isolated in its ivory tower.

Craftsmanship is different? Let’s talk in five years.

This time the movement is led by great people, established in the community. They’re talking about values, that make sense. They gather followers, and in time, some protest. Looks like a great start, a speedy one.

That’s how alt.net started out. Although it has not “failed”, it’s considered elitist, separated from the developer community, and basically, not considered a group anymore. It disintegrated. You can check out my impressions from my last alt.net meeting to see where it’s going.

Only this time it’s worse.

Alt.net rose against Microsoft, an easy target. The craftsmanship movement puts software practices first. It can and will alienate client - the people actually paying for their software. And although Uncle Bob has given his view of how a craftsman helps the business, he’s in the minority of even talking on the subject. That’s not how craftsmen are perceived. Their “software practices first” message will put them second in the race for hiring.

I like the alt.net crowd, same as a I like to craftsmanship crowd. They are smart, good people. They are my crowd. And since you are my crowd – heed my warning:

Identify the signs. In a few years, you’ll be looking for a different flag.

Gil Zilberfeld

2 comments:

Eran said...

I would go ahead and answer you, but good old Uncle Bob does this better: http://cleancoder.posterous.com/software-craftsmanship-things-wars-commandmen

Gil Zilberfeld said...

Eran,

Thank you for channeling Uncle Bob :)

As I've commented on his post - regardless of what the craftsmanship community thinks, it is about perception. How the group of self absorbed black magic worshipers are perceived by business owners. Maybe they are not carrying a flag, but they sure look like this from a distance.

By the way, Uncle Bob is not that naive - he does make the connection between craftsmanship and business - see link to his blog in the post. But he's in the minority.

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