Jan Bosch is a research center director, professor, consultant and angel investor in startups. You can contact him at jan@janbosch.com.

Opinion

PD fallacy #5: software development is a factory cranking out features

Leestijd: 4 minuten

We need to focus on iteratively building new features to measure their impact and spend much more time optimizing existing features that are heavily used.

One of the popular metaphors for software development that annoys me to no end is the notion of a software factory. Even if the underlying concept is concerned with well-defined processes and structured ways of working, the image it draws up in my mind is that of a production line. And it pictures software engineers as mindless factory workers that repeat the same task over and over again.

Interestingly, mechanical design and electronics design are never described as a factory. Everybody understands that a mechanical or electronics engineer is designing a solution and verifying all its necessary properties. Once the design is finalized, we can start manufacturing. And everyone understands that these engineers need to evaluate alternatives, create prototypes, test these prototypes and then arrive at the preferred solution after having explored the design space.

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