Tue, 04 Feb 2003
Learning from Mistakes
Pragmatic Dave Thomas has a nice little bit on how pilots learn from
mistakes. They read accident reports. In our field, we should
build on the bug report.
I once worked with someone who took great glee in dissecting bugs in
his code. Not only would he buy lunch for anyone who found a bug, he'd
write long, loving notes analyzing the bug, why he made it, etc. We
need more people like him.
I note in passing that I edit the "Bug Report" column for
STQE Magazine. I'm always
Here's an example of a kind of bug I learned about. I call it the
"just what I needed (almost)" bug (PDF).
## Posted at 09:31 in category /bugs
Cooper and Beck Debate
Bret points us to an interesting debate between
Alan Cooper and Kent Beck. It's clear they're coming from
fundamentally different positions:
Cooper: Yeah. The instant you start coding, you set a trajectory that
is substantially unchangeable. If you try, you run into all sorts of
Cooper: Building software isn't like slapping a shack together; it's
more like building a 50-story office building or a giant dam.
Beck: I think it's nothing like those. If you build a skyscraper 50
stories high, you can't decide at that point, oh, we need another 50
stories and go jack it all up and put in a bigger foundation.
Cooper: That's precisely my point.
Beck: But in the software world, that's daily business.
Cooper: That's pissing money away and leaving scar tissue.
Beck: No. I'm going to be the programming fairy for you, Alan. I'm
going to give you a process where programming doesn't hurt like
Cooper and Beck have different worldviews. They disagree, at a
fundamental level, about what kind of thing software is. That put me
in mind of a position paper I wrote recently, called
the Emersonian Worldview, and the Dance of Agency", that tries to
characterize the agile worldview.
At the workshop, one of the attendees said that he'd described my
paper to his wife, a physician, and she said something like "if he
really believes that, my diagnosis would be clinical schizophrenia." I
still haven't decided if I'm taking that as a compliment or an
## Posted at 08:45 in category /agile