26 March, 2009

Software Development Philosophy Over Methodology

We've seen all of the arguments about software development methodologies. There's waterfall, where Dr. Winston W. Royce points out the problems while promoting the method. There's the heated (to say heated is an understatement, is an understatement) debates over XP, Scrum, ad nauseum (the big list of methods). The arguments rarely result in new useful information. They always end in the state of "my way is better than yours."

Besides, everyone knows Scrum is the right way :-)

I want to move to the next level. Let's talk about software development philosophies. Because, I think these have a much greater impact on software development than methodologies. Pick a methodology. It has a record of amazing success in one place and utter failure in another.

And, let's face it, some teams just succeed no matter how they go about a project. Unfortuneately, some teams always find the opposite.

Why is this?

I posit that even when the whole team follows the same methodology, they may have completely disparate development philosophies. Some folks just want to get it done, regardless of costs. Others focus on beauty, and many disagree on the meaning of beautiful code. And, some just don't care.

Philosophy Matters

I claim, your development philosophy matters. Many haven't thought about it yet, everyone in the business has some set of core beliefs about what is important in development. How code should be done, what good code is, what part of the process is more important.

How you value each step of development and where importance is placed make the biggest impact in the development of an application. Ultimately, your values and philosophy impact how your methodology is executed.

Wikipedia has a page on development philosophies But, I think it confuses the issue. Those are really methodologies.

A search on Google reveals many blog posts of individuals stating their personal development philosophies. I think it says a great deal when someone is willing to draw the line in the sand and say what their principles are.

But, of course, my development philosophy really is the best one...


by: Paul E Davis
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