Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


The New School of Software Engineering?

This is a great video about how much of software engineering runs on folk knowledge about how software is built:

Greg Wilson – What We Actually Know About Software Development, and Why We Believe It’s True

There’s a very strong New School tie here. We need to study what’s being done and how well it works to figure out how to make better software more reliably.

Incidentally, at around 28 minutes in, Wilson mentions Nachi Nagappan‘s work on physical distance versus managerial distance, and then jumps to remote hires at a a startup. While I’m not sure of which paper Wilson is discussing, almost all of Nagappan’s work is done with Microsoft developers and products. As such, both have to be seen in the context of Microsoft’s deep and shared experience in shipping software. By definition, that shared experience doesn’t exist at a startup. And as to the managerial distance issue, it’s satirically discussed here. Assuming that his results generalize is a large jump, and one that I’m not sure I’d make.