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Winchester house software development

Jon Evans’ Three Reasons Why Your Software Is So Far Behind Schedule got me thinking about Winchester House (wikipedia)software development. His rationale is that it is “technical debt” rather than an irrational effort to keep ghosts at bay – but maybe technical debt is indeed just such an effort?

“Technical debt is not always a bad thing, but if you accrue too much of it, it will kill you. When under schedule pressure, or when new devs keep coming onto and going off a project, people tend to build new software subsystems and connect them to the old ones Rube-Goldberg style, instead of doing it right. It’s like turning a family home into a cantilevered skyscraper one room at a time, and waiting with dread for an earthquake to hit, instead of razing it and pouring a new foundation as you should have.”

The other two reasons involve testing and proper use of outside services. All three boil down to the general idea that a focus on what you are really after is going to yield better efficiency. 

This is why, perhaps, apps and plugins are taking over for monolithic software applications. Upstream are databases, systems, and environments put together by such items as WordPress and Android which then become platforms for individuals tailoring those platforms to specific functions. It’s been a long term dream to have component based software. The age may be approaching where Winchester house software development fades into dinosaur land while the nimble mammals put together a modern ecosystem in a new environment.

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