tecznotes

Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Nov 5, 2005 7:41pm

less is crap

What's with the glorified self-balkanization of software?

I'm in Poland, running through my feeds for the first time in a week. Half the stuff I'm reading from Paul Graham, 37 Signals and a million others is undigested "less is more" zen-of-development hoo-hah. It may just be that I'm tired and jetlagged and supposed to be sleeping, but this stuff is majorly rubbing me the wrong way. It's like job #1 for all these guys is gleefully cutting down their workload by proclaiming philosophical opposition to planning, preparation, or listening to their users. I realize this is a great way to get a wee startup out the door, but the approach has no apparent respect for software with more than ten users and developers. Some jobs, like disaster relief or administering a country or designing a car are big by nature. I'll never forget our two visits to BMW's design & engineering center in 2004 and 2003, when I witnessed for the first time a large, highly synchronized operation manned by hyper-competent individuals acting synchronously towards a central goal. It was poetry in motion, a sad counterpoint to the incompetent bumblefuckery of FEMA and other federal agencies botching wars and rescues.

The real problems of the 21st century are worlds-apart from the American business press' sudden obsession with autonomous smallness, agile and open source software. I'm curious to see the focus of small, distributed teams pointed at big problems with inherently big solutions.

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