Software architects as management deadwood

Two interesting quotes from Dietrich Kappe:

So no, we don’t hire architects. We hire developers. In a small team, there is no room for management deadwood.

I agree completely. My view is that the title “Software architect” is a misnomer for what most architects in the software industry do, or at least what they should be doing.

It is part of the weird trend that career advancement means getting away from actual programming for some reason. Maybe that is part of a bigger problem when the only way to get a higher pay is to become a manager of some sort? A couple of years ago, most programmers I knew aimed for a project management position. Programming was a dirty job that you had to put up with during the first years in consulting.

When my title was “business analyst” I tried to do as much programming I could and I haven’t regretted that for a moment. In fact, I believe that more people from the business side should get involved in programming to get a better understanding of the fundamental principles. For example, it would be great if business people could write their own acceptance tests and with the booming trend of DSL:s you will probably get involved anyway.

If you’ve made the transition from a hierarchical environment to an agile, self-organizing team, you know what I’m saying. You won’t ever want to go back.

Absolutely. It is the same thing as discovering things like Ruby/Python/Rails: it makes you wonder what the hell you were doing earlier. In many ways I feel sorry for young software developers that go straight into Rails or similar frameworks today. They are not as appreciative as the rest of us:-)

Scrum, Lies and Red Tape

Philip Su from Microsoft gives us a glimpse of the inner workings of one of the most complex software projects in the world. It is interesting to see that the same problems that sometimes plague small waterfall projects (lies, red tape) exist in an organization that have put a lot of effort into their development methodology.

At a recent Scrum training session Ken Schwaber said “it’s all bout telling the truth”. Philip’s post contains some interesting quotes related to this topic:

“When a vice president in the Windows [Vista project] asks you whether your team will ship on time, they might well have asked you whether they look fat in their new Armani suit.

“[…]the intrepid managers finally understood how to get past the dilemma. They simply stopped telling the truth. -‘Sure, everything fits. We cut and cut, and here we are. Vista by August or bust. You got it, boss.’ Every once in a while, Truth still pipes up in meetings. When this happens, more often than not, Truth is simply bent over an authoritative knee and soundly spanked into silence.”

Didn’t Microsoft adopt Scrum a year go? Maybe they skipped the part about transparency. Granted, the Windows Vista project may be one of the more complex software projects to date, but how many VP:s do you really need? And even if you do the waterfall dance, there must be some insight into real progress, even for pointy haired bosses?

Update: Apparently too many readers turned his blog post into the standard Windows/Linux shootout which made him remove the interesting parts. Google cache currently has the original.