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A Question Of Humbling Proportion

 15. July 2017

The road to hell is lined with convenient parking spaces.

I said recently that we need fewer addresses and more routes. These slugs are attempts to get at what I think keeps going wrong for us – in the trade, possibly in entire culture.

There are numerous systems for software development out there competing in mindspace. (Stock word for these is “methodology,” but I resist. I’ll call them “methods”, as to my reading, methodology is the study of methods.) Every one of these methods is essentially what I mean when I say “parking space” or “address”.

They are, to most, a destination. “This is where we are now. That method is where we will be. Then we’ll be there, and we can stop moving.” Do we need to take time to establish that nary a one of these methods is really a viable stopping place? I never know what I can take for granted.

I’ll just throw out two data points, and keep moving.

Data point: not one of the (living) competing methods for software development has been stable for ten years.

Data point: every year for the last twenty at least one if not more major “new” methods emerges. If any of these methods were viable stopping points, one or both of those two data points would be false.

The hard truth is that we don’t know how to write software, in the sense of “method”. We have no stable reliable repeatable system. About the most you could say is that some given method is “as close as we’ve come so far”.For me, a professional coach, these ideas are profoundly humbling.

I’m going to pause here, with a question: How should that profoundly humbling insight change my stance – ideas & behaviors – as a coach?