Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Enough with process; let's focus on practices...

The world of software development is constantly changing and evolving. New ideas arise all the time and existing ideas go in and out of fashion. Software development processes find it very hard to keep up with this rapid rate of change, especially as they find themselves quickly going of fashion or becoming bloated as they bolt on more and more information. Teams find themselves struggling as they try to mix-and-match practices from various sources into a coherent way-of-working or work out where to start their improvements.

A new approach to capturing and sharing experience is required, one where:
1. Practices are First Class Citizens,
2. Practices can be made smart to truly help the developers in their work,
3. Practices can be used individually or in a multitude of combinations
4. Process is just a composition of Practices, and
5. Teams compose the process they need by selecting just the practice that they want to use

To enable this a number of innovations are required: innovations related to the way that practices are collected, presented and applied. Of course, number five is the most challenging to enterprisey thinking in that many folks think that governance is all about gates and being an impediment where as the original meaning was more about behavior. In order to realize this goal, the conversation needs to shift away from governance toward self-governance.

While there are many bloggers who blog on process such as Robert McIlree, Bob Sutton, Marc Crofton, Sandy Kemsley, Glenn Alleman, Elizabeth Harrin, David Maister, Charles Zedlewski, etc, I suspect that few of them actually have any viable tips on implementing self-governance practices within large enterprises. Many will choose to exercise their right to remain silent on this topic...

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