Interview

Cracking the code to craftsmanship

Nieke Roos
Leestijd: 8 minuten

With the growing reliance on software in an increasingly high-tech world, it’s more important than ever to master the art of software engineering. Trainers and Bart Vanderbeke have taken it upon themselves to turn developers into craftsmen.

“A colleague once told me about one of his former project managers, who, upon realizing that the estimates didn’t align with his timeline, just cut them in half to make them fit. I find it unheard of, not only that you’d do such a thing as a project manager but also that people stand for that kind of behavior. You don’t have to scold him, but you can open your mouth. Instead, at the end of the project, when everything has gone haywire, everyone complains about how this has happened to them.”

Inspired by Google executive Fred Kofman and his book “Conscious business,” Bart Vanderbeke calls on software engineers to stop playing the victim. “It’s unacceptable and unhealthy,” he claims. “You’re the craftsman. When someone tells you that you need to do something in half the time, or skip the design, or refrain from reviews, you say no – constructively. Software engineers are scarce, so you’re in a comfortable position, certainly no position to self-victimize. Don’t hide behind ‘management.’ As a software craftsman, using a term coined by Kofman, you’re ‘unconditionally responsible’ for everything you do or don’t do.”

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