Professional software development between science, sound experience and beliefs: IT Industry



IT industry on one hand is doing a good job in documenting lessons learned and experience accumulated on the field, for example see [7] and [8]. On the other hand many lessons are forgotten because each generation start over to find solutions that speak directly to its unique time.

In the day to day work, IT professionals are let alone to deal with complex projects and with many unknowns. They can count on their judgment and it's up to them to verify what works and what not, in every single specific case.

When there is a doubt or a disagreement, there are no scientific profs of what these or those books and articles advocate. And in Professional software development, popularity, reputation and authority do not constitute valid profs.

Nonetheless statistics about success rates of IT projects suggests that things are improving.

The following instead are examples of things that don't go well:

  • At industry-oriented gatherings, sometimes it seems that a strong opinion, a loud voice, and a couple of pints of beer constitute a "proof" for many claims [1].

  • Case studies and success cases in the IT industry are really anecdotes. They are an effective means to share stories and experiences. They also lack the qualities required to constitute a proof.

  • Even in the current situations where unknowing is an essential part of the reality, in some professional communities well known and respected thought leaders can lavish answers authoritatively and dogmatically.

  • Some certification organizations base the body of knowledge on anecdotes, manage it in a not scientific and closed way and present their thesis as a valid indisputable truth.

  • Some case studies and success cases are made up for marketing purpose.


This meas that in the IT industry the boundary between
  • solid experience gained working on the field or learned from peers, and
  • popular beliefs and fads
is very thin and unclear.

Print | posted @ sabato 14 settembre 2013 0.27

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