Monday, 5 January 2009

Software Sloth

I know I should be babysitting, but I saw Ian's nuanced post about technical debt and thought he left one out, and it is a cardinal one.

The fundamental problem is you either do not care enough and/ or you are too proud to change your was. The blogosphere is full of good advice, there are loads of great textbooks available, and peer learning is catching on - so help is available. So why do some still not "get it" and start producing good software?

Technical debt can be excused if it is backed up my conscious, well thought through decisions. There can be justification for skimping on quality. However, I contend that most technical debt is accrued through sloth. You either do not know what quality is, because you do not care enough to go and find out. You do not know the price of short sightedness. You cannot be bothered to read good books, or participate in collaborative peer efforts to better yourself. Or you are sinister, arrogant and not interested in improving your ways, not receptive to better ideas - even when you see mounting technical debt all around you.

I am a firm believer in evolution, and if we frame the problem thus, it is clear what the real problem is: because there isn't enough talent to go around, to fill enough posts and attain critical mass, sloth is allowed to thrive. Evolutionary pressures only work when resources are scarce, and sloth is apparently a smaller problem than getting bums on seats and poor code out the door.

Or maybe I am mistaken, and quantity is the real measure of success?