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InfoQ Homepage Presentations Taking Back “Software Engineering”

Taking Back “Software Engineering”

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Bio

Dave Farley is an independent software developer and consultant, founder and director of Continuous Delivery Ltd. He is co-author of the Jolt-award winning book 'Continuous Delivery' a regular conference speaker and blogger and a contributor to the Reactive Manifesto.

About the conference

Software is changing the world. QCon empowers software development by facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation in the developer community. A practitioner-driven conference, QCon is designed for technical team leads, architects, engineering directors, and project managers who influence innovation in their teams.

Recorded at:

Apr 29, 2018

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Community comments

  • Correction: It's Margaret Hamilton not Margaret Hodge

    by John Hollister /

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    See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Hamilton_(scientist) and comments on Apollo 11.

  • Not quite agree on Craftsman and preindustrial building technique

    by jean-simon Larochelle /

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    Counter example: top of the line musical instruments are made by craftsman
    Hand wired boutique pedals, amplifiers (mostly discrete electronic components)
    Hand made violins, guitars, etc...
    Top of the line synthesizers are now made with more modern manufacturing technique not because they are more technologically advanced but because it would just cost to much to build them by hand.
    There is a large body of common knowledge and techniques.

  • Re: Correction: It's Margaret Hamilton not Margaret Hodge

    by David Farley /

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    Yes, I am afraid that I misspoke, I know it is Margret Hamilton that made such an important contribution to both the Apollo missions, but also to software development.

  • Re: Not quite agree on Craftsman and preindustrial building technique

    by David Farley /

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    That is certainly the case for musical instruments, and for other areas, but I think that there can be no dispute that engineered structures and devices will be, these days, at a significantly higher level of precision than the output of even a master crafts-person.

    We are human beings and so value the variances, and inaccuracies, that humans build into things. My point is that if you want precision, accuracy, optimal performance (in any measurable sense) then it will be the output of engineering.

    My argument is that the value that we place on the products of craft is usually subjective. Could you tell the difference, if you hadn't been sold the "lovingly hand-crafted" message, and paid the inflated price, first?

    I don't know the answer to that, but it would be an interesting experiment to do a blind test, say between the best production-line Gibson Les Paul, and one created - from scratch, by hand. My understanding is that even the products of Gibson's renowned Custom Shop, use machine created, and then hand selected, parts?

  • words, theory, and practice

    by Jeff Hain /

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    Craftsmanship, industry... when words don't match reality well, they cast more shadow than light on it, but I'll also try to do something with these.

    Software engineering is:

    - in theory, improving knowledgable craftsmen effectiveness through collaboration, science, and by providing them with industrial-artifacts-quality technologies and tools (often coming from open source communities of craftsmen),

    - in practice, hindering illiterate workers productivity by isolating them as process cogs and dogmatically forcing bloated manual-work-generating technologies and tools (often coming from commercial companies) upon them at industrial scale.

  • Re: words, theory, and practice

    by David Farley /

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    Sorry but none of that sounds like anything to do with "Engineering" to except for "improving knowledgable craftsmen effectiveness through <snip> science".

    The practices that you describe sounds more about the failures of poor management than of engineering as a discipline.

    I am trying to describe what true, design-engineering looks like. It is certainly nothing to do with "cogs in a machine" nor "bloated manual-work-generating tech".

    Think of the people designing the Curiosity Rover at NASA, or the iPhone at Apple. These are world-class creative people, being inventive, innovative, exploring new ground. These people completely fit both my mental image of engineering and my description of it as a general process and as a process for software development.

    I think that you may be confusing "production engineering" with "engineering" and actually very poor "production engineering" at that!

    The kind of engineering that I am thinking of amplifies human creativity by providing a framework within which it operates more effectively and more efficiently.
    </snip>

  • Re: words, theory, and practice

    by Jeff Hain /

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    Hi.

    Sorry if I was confusing. I totally agree with you, it was just trying to emphasise the discrepancy between what can and should be (what you describe), and how things are often designed to be in practice, in my experience.

  • Check out Glenn Vanderburg's presentations on Real Software Engineering!

    by Johnny FromCanada /

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    For example, InfoQ Keynote 2012:

    "Real Software Engineering"
    www.infoq.com/presentations/Software-Engineering

  • CD as SE

    by Johnny FromCanada /

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    When "Continuous Delivery" came out, I would hand the book to team members and literally say: Continuous Delivery is the best formulation of software engineering I have found yet.

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