In the olden days software teams were split into two distinct groups: architects and programmers. Architects designed the system and programmers implemented the design.
Then Extreme Programming came along and said splitting teams up wasn't a good idea. Everyone should be in the same room. Collective code ownership said that anyone should be able to work on any piece of code. Now architects had to code and programmers had to design.
Architects advanced to architect from programmer, so they'd coded before. The transition to writing code, while humbling, was not a huge task.
Programmers were programmers because they were not architects. They had not designed before. This transition is more troubling.
I'll cop out a little and lean back on the age old construction metaphor. See, construction workers aren't architects. Most of them don't even strive to be architects. They build things with their tools and their hands and enjoy it, why would they want to build things with paper and pencil?
In agile development we are asking programmers to design. Maybe they don't want to design. Maybe, for some reason, they can't design. It's not part of their mental makeup. They construct. They are good and constructing. Why are you asking me to do more than construct?
I've read and signed the Craftsmanship Manifesto, http://manifesto.softwarecraftsmanship.org/ and joined their Google group, http://groups.google.com/group/software_craftsmanship/web/the-new-left-side?pli=1. There is a thread in the group titled something like "Should we/can we convince programmers to care about their craft?" This thread got me thinking and that thinking lead to this blog.
So, are we, the Agilists and craftsmen, asking too much from programmers?
1 day ago