Via @stevereads, a great summary of a panel at the 2007 OOPSLA conference about what we can and can't do to improve the software development process, what has changed over the last 20 years, and what hasn't. The panel summary includes choice insights from Fred "Mythical Man Month" Brooks, and features Martin "Extreme Programming" Fowler pretending to be a werewolf.
There were two great quotes from the panel, one serious, one hilarious. Let's get the hilarious one out of the way. It was from the werewolf:
Fortunately, it is hard work to manage a team and to focus on people's interactions. It is much easier to fiddle your thumbs and play with Microsoft project. Every time somebody creates a PERT chart or a Gantt chart, I get to eat an extra kitten.
And now the serious one, from Linda Northrop, Director of the Research, Technology, and System Solutions Program at Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute:
To wrestle future werewolves we still need great designers, and I think we still have far too few, and we still need to cultivate an atmosphere of hard work but also an inter-disciplinary perspective that takes us uncomfortably out of our coding world. Our world of what, if I could just borrow a phrase from this morning’s keynote, “the technology push”. I think the reason we have the technology push is because we don’t do the hard work to understand the needs of who we are trying to address.