Processes and Tools Over Individuals and Interactions

When I was a developer, I couldn’t understand why other developers were not as competent as me.

When I was a team leader, I couldn’t understand why my team didn’t measure up to my glorified project saving success.

When I joined Typemock, I couldn’t understand why most developers are prepared to live in bug-world, rather than just unit test.

War never changes…

During my first years at Typemock, I decided not to enter the “Typemock is too powerful” debate. The main argument was that tool capabilities put constraints on the developer. With more restrictions (that coincide with some good design principles), developers will not be able to abuse the tool. We looked at it as flexibility for any design. It was a religious debate, and as these go they were tiring.

When I first read the discussion around giving the same mocking abilities to FakeItEasy, it looked like the same debate, only with different actors.

This time, though, something felt different. I couldn’t put a finger on it at first. But what Igal (@hmemcpy) said connected with other things I heard from other Typemock alumni that went into the wild (in addition to the other regular voices): We don’t trust developers to do what we (or our boss) hired them to do. Developers, who are not skilled enough, will harm our way of life: Our code base, our practices. Where it really hurts.

The thought that having a tool will drive developers to better design is absurd. I’ve got examples aplenty. But it’s even worse: we’ve started thinking in terms of damage control. It’s no longer “with great power, comes great responsibility”. It’s “in straight jacket they can’t do much harm”. (And it’s always “they”, isn’t it?)

I was there before. I saw what unskilled people did as acts of stupidity. I was angry. I put constraints in place so “they” wouldn’t hurt “the team’s” progress.

It’s really not about tools

It’s about “us” saving the project in spite of “them”.

We think it’s the only way, since we know better. So we tie their hands. This leaves no hope for “them”, so they leave. We’d like to get more people like us, but come on, what are the chances?

The economics of the situation are simple – if you leverage the people you have, your chances of success are much better than searching for super-heroes.

But we’d rather take shortcuts. It feels we’re saving the ship. In fact we’re taking in more load.

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”

If you’re not willing to invest in your people, tools surely won’t save you.

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