wtorek, 4 października 2011

Is software development akin to ice cream making?

Surprisingly much more than could be suspected.
As nicely explained by Martin Fowler on his blog here, famous ThoughtWorks "stole" its operation model from a ice cream company. He describes the model as founded on three pillars. They're as follows:
1. Sustainable Business - this one is fairly obvious and boils down to "you need money to survive in business". However, one special thing is noted by Martin: "revenue is like oxygen - you need it in order to live but it isn't what you live for". I like it :)
2. Professional Excellence - seems to be obvious as well. One should always strive to do the best possible job. What's interesting, Martin argues that this sometimes involves *not doing* what customer wants. Particularly, he elaborates about features that don't pass their (internal!) usefulness evaluation. Now this is something different than I've experienced! Additionally Martin claims this pillar includes improving not only how his company works, but also the industry as a whole. He believes that if his company invents/finds something interesting or makes a breakthrough, it should share. My belief is that some *big* IT companies could benefit from this pillar a lot.
3. Social Justice - contrary to the first impression this not about giving out stuff for free ;) It's rather another incarnation of (in)famous Google phrase "don't be evil". Martin's explanation here is that a company should care more than simply "if they pay we will do". He strongly advises that each piece of work done should be valuable to customers and society. What surprised me was his claim that ThoughtWorks had rejected many profitable and technically interesting contracts because of negative third pillar impact. Well, again - that's something that didn't occur too frequently in my practice ;)

Personally, I'm fascinated. In Martin's words TW sounds like a perfect mix of two differnt company types: start-up (technically savvy, interesting top-notch projects, caring about sth more than money) and corporation (financially stable, believing in good processes). I encourage everybody to read full Martin's post and establish own opinion.