Een schip op het strand is een baken in zee.
[A ship on the beach is a lighthouse to the sea.]
- old dutch proverb
His two most recent blog posts, a tad obscure, were about the difficulties he encountered and some of the learnings he obtained from the experience. If you haven’t read Yegge before, his often comical approach makes him a pleasant read, with enough material dating back to the Amazon days to last for a couple of months.
This brings me to ponder on a few things:
I assume Yegge’s development effort is not to grow developer *hrm* appendages but to save other developers time in the future, a noble endeavour. Constructing software of this compexity in this short amount of time does lead me to think it has been rather grueling, and the evidence is in his mysterious tale about magic marshmallows. Should we celebrate the 11 daily hours of sweat Steve + team endured (or enjoyed) or rather despise the heroic effort of a few?
It is perhaps my software engineering formation that shapes my beliefs, but I am not the only one to think there is something to be said on this topic. I do concede that reality might require different courses of action than what is good in theory, however it does make sense that a series of burnouts will not yield any positive consequences; how does decreasing motivation, (perhaps) lowered code quality and increasing reasons for frustration within the organization measure up with a repeatable, more predictable process?
I am not criticizing Yegge or undermining any of his achievements. He remains one of my inspirations. However, as a follow up to his post on agile the Google way, this DOES smell like “bad agile.”
PS: On a side note, this is also another indication that Google is not the Valhalla of software engineers that people make it up to be. The truth is, it is Yet Another Software Company (YASC – I just invented that term, pay me royalties) facing the same, very real problems.