Gothic monster by ractapopulous is licensed under Pixabay License

“in all things that live there are certain, irregularities and deficiencies which are not only signs of life, but sources of beauty.” John Ruskin

It is 20 years since the Agile manifesto so what has been achieved? There is still a great deal of frustration and polarisation. Every few years a rebrand occurs such as DevOps, Agile transformation or Business Agility.

But perhaps the most underestimated rebrand was that of software craft. It like no other was rooted in the actual practice of software development. Pondering the what if we had all chosen XP rather than Scrum. …

The recent Christmas present that inspired this article. A nostalgic leap back to 1986 when I obsessed over 2 things — Group B rally cars and Lego. And with the latter, my introduction to the power and possibilities of modularity.

“The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order.” Alfred North Whitehead

We live in the digital era. We are interconnected like never before. We are constantly deciding what to process amongst an overwhelming amount of data about almost anything. And the rate of change keeps accelerating due to our global economy which is locked in a vicious competition cycle of year on year growth.

Riding the crest of this tsunami of information and change are the software developers who are tasked with orchestrating it. Agile is the mantra in modern software development…

“Jim Clark’s Indy 500 winning Lotus-Ford 38/1” by Nic Redhead is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

It was April 1968. A cold and grey day at an F2 race in Hockenheim Germany. The crowd had been stunned into silence by the announcement that there had been a fatal accident. The driver involved had defined motor racing for a generation – that man was Jim Clark.

Clark and his green Lotus F1 car had become the epitome of cool, daring and skill; an international icon. In 1965 he won the F1 world championship whilst simultaneously winning the Indianapolis 500. …

“Model T Coast to Coast” by David Reber is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

When was the last time you thought about efficiency? Probably more recently than you think. You might not realise it but we optimise all the time. Whether it is putting on a jumper, putting your phone in power save mode, taking that shortcut on the way home from work or trying to meet that deadline. We just can’t help ourselves and with very good reason. For we live in a world of scarce resource – such as space, time or money – and because of that scarcity there is often competition. It can be quite literally survival of the fittest.

In the film the Birds, Alfred Hitchcock speculated what if our aviarian friends who completely outnumber us were to decide to cooperate en masse. Then they most certainly could annihilate us and take over the world.

But nowadays all the birds and the bees pale into insignificance compared to the multitude of our modern technology. If you believe films such as the Terminator then annihilation is precisely what is in store for us at the hands of our machines; or alternatively as the Matrix would have it, duped into providing utility as a biological battery source.

From the dawn of…

You mean the father of economics and capitalism? That’s him. Perhaps you answer the question with “nope, he was an economist”. Or maybe “don’t be silly, he’s been dead for literally hundreds of years”.

So how much can we really learn from a 300 year old economist? Let’s analyse those answers in more detail.

“Nope he was an economist”

Strictly speaking he was a moral philosopher. More to the point, this assumes that the knowledge and practice of each and every discipline is mutually exclusive. I beg to differ.

Software development owes its existence to knowledge from other disciplines. Many of the founding fathers of…

“The real trick in highly reliable systems is somehow to achieve simultaneous centralization and decentralization” Karl E. Weick

One of the many consequences of Covid-19 has been the great working from home experiment. Life is suddenly full of Zoom calls, with the now familiar grid of heads, and the cameo appearance from someone’s misbehaving child. But it is not the first time that many of us have worked from home. In fact, nearly 250 years ago it was a bit of a norm. So why did we give it up back then, and why is our society moving full circle…

“The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy; their second worst enemy is total efficiency” Aldous Huxley

This is a series of articles on the challenges facing modern businesses. It is told by drawing metaphors from the history of entropy. What’s the motivation? Partly to satisfy my own curiosity to understand ever more about software development, team dynamics, products and innovation, and organisational change. …

Gary Blair

Curious about all things in software development, building of teams and better organisational design

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