Why are software projects so hard, and still hand-crafted?
Software runs the modern world, yet every program is essentially hand-crafted. Is this why software projects are so hard to get right?
That's the question from Scott Porad, CTO of the Cheezburger Network, after talking to a friend who quit the software development biz after 18 years. "First, name one other thing in the world, he said, that is used by so many people and which is created entirely by hand?" Automation builds bricks and computers and automobiles, but code jockeys type and type to build the software to control these processes.
Projects, such as websites, have the same development problems year after year and project after project. "Why is it that no matter how long a project takes, the customer always thinks it should be faster or cheaper?" Of course, we also think hand-crafted projects like construction, Porad's comparison, should be faster and cheaper, too, so maybe it's not just software that's a problem.
Software problems abound
I think in my ~20year career, I've had only 3 projects that were specified well enough up front that we just "built it according to the plans" and had a satisfied customer at the end. Overwhelmingy, some (or most) of the design gets "made up as we go along".
bigiain on news.ycombinator.com
Other areas are just as bad
You need to spend some time on a job site, I’ve seen plumbers come to blows arguing over the best way to do something.
Fuzzy on scottporad.com
Natural evolution at work
What distinguishes software from contemporary engineering? A couple hundred years of development at the very least. I'd say we've come a long way and have some ways to go.
agentultra on news.ycombinator.com
Hmm, maybe the problem is not the hand-crafted nature of software and construction, but the brains behind the hands.