Developers Need to act Professionally

2014-02-04

Great talk by Uncle Bob. I’ve extracted some highlights below.

  1. Look around at how much is dependent on software (excluding computers and smartphones). Elevators, cars, HVAC etc. How confident are you that an if statement written at 3am isn’t going to cause a disaster?

If a disaster happens because of code, Government will step in and regulate the industry. We all know how well that will work, so ensure it doesn’t.

After Healthcare.gov, he re-iterated his concerns about this one.

  1. The most important thing you can do is say ‘No’ when you know saying ‘Yes’ will be extremely bad. And say ‘No’ when asked if you’ll try anyway. Otherwise you’re lying.

  2. You are responsible for acting professionally. You can try to get your co-workers to be professional, but the most important thing is for you to be professional, and hope that others will emulate you.

  3. Expect to continuously learn. You hope your Doctor, Lawyer and other professionals you deal with are constantly learning, and if you’re a professional, you will do the same. Labourers don’t, professionals do continuous learning.

  4. When estimating, if you provide a single date, you’ve lied. Provide a range and probabilities.

The bottom line. We are responsible for our own actions, our own code, and doing the best we can to ensure that ‘the business’ doesn’t attempt something we know isn’t possible.

If something as terrible as Healthcare.gov happens, but also involves actual loss of life due to software development, expect Government to regulate the industry. Then, we’ll all be civil servants.


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