Going Backwards - losing what we know

The people who worked with the computer pioneer John von Neuman all practiced and valued 'code reviews'. This definitely was passed on - Jerry Weinberg, the Software Qualtiy supremo, is proof. In the 1970's, as an academic, he even proved reviews and a focus on 'quality' were the cheapest, most effective way to produce good programs, quickly.

There must be hundreds of other Good Practices that have fallen by the way, that were once 'standard practice' somewhere and exceedingly useful.

So why aren't all or some of the Good Practices taught routinely - both at University and in the work place? After all, we're talking about things that work, that address the software fundaments: cheaper, better, faster, more, that push up the tradeoff point for "pick two of 'fast, good, cheap'", make the production of software more reliable and predictable - and ultimately cheaper.

Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) a British doctor and psychiatrist in Life At The Bottom says:

"When a man tells me, in explanation of his anti-social behaviour, that he is easily led, I ask him whether he was ever easily led to study mathematics or the subjunctives of French verbs."..

That's what we seem to have in I.T., people are Easily Led Astray. Somehow we know what will and won't lead to better work - and systematically chose against "Good Practices".

I've never seen more than one person at a site spontaenously improve their practices. But have been at effect more than once of management directives to "remove the gold plating" - to give away Good Practices.

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