Software Programming as Craft
The Cutter Consortium recently published an issue of the Cutter IT Journal focused on Software Programming as Craft: The Impact of Agile Development. The issue is available as a free download. (You must register and enter the promotion code in the small orange box on the page.)
Jens Coldewey is the Guest Editor for this edition. In his Opening Statement, Coldewey traces the origin of the craftsmanship movement to an OOPSLA workshop.
Twelve years ago, four remarkable guys - Bruce Anderson, Norm Kerth, Dave West, and Ken Auer - conducted a remarkable workshop at the OOPSLA conference in Vancouver: "Software as a Studio Discipline." ... The 1998 workshop was officially focused on teaching, but reading the call for participation today makes it look like the starting point of [the software craftsmanship movement].
Pete McBreen, a participant in the workshop, published Software Craftsmanship three years later and Bob Martin, in 2008, proposed adding a fifth line to the Agile Manifesto, "[We value] Craftsmanship over crap."
According to Coldewey, software craftsmanship became a 'movement' in response to "a growing uneasiness among many agilists: that with the tremendous success of Scrum, more and more people reduced the the agile movement to the Scrum practices ... [ignoring] the ability to deliver high-quality code in a frequent and fast rythm without spoiling the code base."
Still according to Coldewey, the craftsman advocates claim:
... a good code base is the foundation for frequent delivery of valuable software, and a stable team of caring professionals in close alignment with the stakeholder's business goals is the foundation of a good code base. [and] programming is a skill that requires lifelong learning ... collaborating with skilled peers ... [and] tacit knowledge and experience. And this is where craft enters the scene: craftsmanship is the traditional means of teaching and transferring tacit knowledge and experience.
The issue consists of six articles plus the guest editor's opening statement.
- "The Seven Dimensions of a True Craftsman" by Mathew A. Stuempfle and J. David Gibson. The article attempts to answer the question of what it takes to be a true craftsman? For them it comes down to seven key dimensions: Understanding the Necessity of the Craft; Play Multiple Roles, Realize the Importance of Mentors, Active Team Player, Understand the Audience, Know It's Occasionally OK to Fail, and Anticipate and Navigate Continual Change.
- "Engineering: YES; Craft: NO" by Ken Orr and Paul G. Basset who argue that craftsmanship is a misguided "infatuation" and the real need is for the software industry to "mature into an engineering discipline."
- "How Craftsmanship Survives Explosive Growth" by Lawrence Fitzpatrick, a case study of "hlow a growing software development group was able to maintain a semblance of craftsmanship in the face of serious countervailing pressures."
- "Sustainable Agile Software Development" by Stefan Roock, a description of "the basic principles of incremental design" and how they can enable long term, cost effective, maintenance of software systems.
- "Today's Business World Needs Contextual Craftsmanship" by Gil Broza. Broza argues that "pure software craftsmanship is impractical in today's world" and a different sort of craftsmanship, "contextual craftsmanship" is needed and possible.
- "Who Crafts the User Experience: UI Developers or UX Designers?" by Michael Hughes. Hughes focuses on the human-computer system, usability, and why the emerging specialization of user experience (UX) design should be part of craftsmanship.
This article provides interesting and useful information about the origin of the craftsmanship movement and some of the important issues being discussed. It might be useful preparation for anyone attending the 2010 SCNA Conference.
Hands-on software craftsmanship
I am concerned about the issue and downloaded the issue from www.cutter.com.
Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth.
Re: the Promotion Code is SOFTWARECRAFT
Comment: Enter the promotion code exactly, using all uppercase letters. You can use Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V :)
Really? Software Craftsmanship?
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