So Not Alone
It seems like it's always been the same set of arguments/fears even back in the day when C++ and OOD were new, when we were trying to convince people that it might be nice to try to manage dependencies in their software modules (.5 grin).
Sing along if you know this song:
It probably won't work because it's 'different' here.
Now, there are different sides to this statement.
There is one the self-deprecating side (and believe me, I understand self-deprecation) where the speaker doesn't believe himself or his organization capable of change. One doesn't dare to hope. It's especially bad when there is a lot of legacy code written in what seems to be the worst possible style: ponderous overbloated architecture, expensive ineffective tools, waterfall processes, a history of punishing developers for a bad process, etc (sing along, now!). One figures that the rest of the world has got to be better than one's self at this whole software thing. Well, the good news is bad news: there is plenty of dysfunction to go around. Whatever you've got, there is worse, and some of the worse are turning the corner even as we speak. Even if it can't happen in a week or a month or even a year, it can happen. You are so not alone.
The other side of it is the arrogant side. "Sure in a perfect society that might work, but not in the real world." Of course the real world is composed of their past experience. A company can be so isolated from the rest of the world that they think they 'are' the world. Maybe the answer to this is to bring in outsiders to help with transition, because they bring some of the world with them into the company. Maybe some of the answer is to get people out of the office where they can rub shoulders with people who do things differently. But if you are thinking that your "real world" is impervious to change, you are not alone.
Yeah, we're all "perfect little snowflakes." Each organization and application really is different. We all have dysfunction and strengths, and we all have good and bad history. We've all been through fads and fashions, a lot of which are barely remembered. But people change, and organizations change. When the reasons are good enough, the means sure enough, and the way clear enough, it can happen.
This week I recommended Weinberg's Are Your Lights On to a fellow who wanted to understand how to help bring about change in his organization (an organization already moving in a very good direction). Maybe these strategies will help. I think so. I hope so.
But when you think that your situation is unique (as indeed I have from time to time) I have news for you...
...you are soooo not alone.
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