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Consultancy on software quality

Simple-sounding guidance that is effective can be hard to come by. The kinds of simple-sounding guidance that Dr Deming so effectively provisioned for industry can be applied to practices of software development for considerable gain.

In some respects these principles can be equated with agile principles. In practice, however, it seems that what is frequently taken for agile processes are certain manifest behaviours, rather than an attention to quality (of which fluidity in response to customer's changing needs is but one facet).

Software best practices need not be undermined by responsive development practices. Software quality starts with understanding the customers needs in a landscape of potential change. A productive way to cater for this changeability is to incorporate it into the software itself.

To achieve this outcome, it is necessary for developers to collaborate carefully about the most important areas of software development. It is not sufficient to talk merely about the functions they are working on, it is necessary to understand the work in terms of the customers needs. For many areas of work, it is productive to formulate the needs of the client in terms of domain specific languages.

Armed with a growing understanding of the domain to which they are contributing, developers are in a position to write software that they care about and that they can build upon with each successive change.

It is not necessary to accumulate technical debt before improving software. The inverse of technical debt is clearly expressed domain functionality that addresses clients' needs. Every clearly expressed customer service or function, written or produced in terms of the domain it concerns, builds knowledge, respect and fulfilment in the working efforts of software programmers. In fact, it is hard to conceive of software that is responsive to clients' changing needs that does not have this quality; that is not beautiful code.

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  • What, How & Why Considered Together
    6 May 20162:48:06 pm by huw
    I thought this was an interesting talk from Liz Keogh. She makes a distinction between "building the right thing" and "building it right" and compares projects on these two dimensions. Later into t...