Keep a Perspective on Code Risks
Looking at any code quality tool raises issues that apply to all
such tools and to the processes in which those tools are used. I looked
at some of these a year ago in connection with development
outsourcing. Its increasingly important, as I noted then, for code
quality tools to go beyond detecting problems and become actual aids to
developer team collaboration and problem solution.
Youll find a discussion of challenges involved in managing
decentralized development teams in an interview in next weeks eWEEK,
in the Developer Solutions special section: If you dont get that as
part of your eWEEK every Monday, it will also be available on
eWEEK.com. I spoke for that Q&A story with Jack Blount, a seasoned
development manager whos worked with dispersed teams in multiple time
zones at companies ranging from small startups to IBM.
One of the key issues that Blount identified is that developers are
being brought much closer to the firing line of applications alignment
with business needs. When developers express resistance to agile
development methods, Blount opined, they may really be reacting to the
sense of greater exposure toand accountability forthe speed and
criticality of changes in requirements. Many developers, he suggested,
enjoy the sense of productivity that comes from meeting a
specification, even if its traditional for developers to complain
about excessive documentation getting in the way of writing code. When
developers find themselves closer to the heat of the fire of responding
to the need rather than satisfying the specification, he said, its
bound to create some anxiety.
Thinking about development risk creates unavoidable resonance with
other risk discussions taking place on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A somewhat
on the 9/11 anniversary tabulates the number of deaths that
actually occurred in the United States from various causes during the
11-year period from 1995 through 2005: As best can be determined,
52,000 people died while walking down the street during that period,
compared with 3,147 who died from terrorist acts.
My point in bringing up these figures, with apologies to anyone who had a personal connection with the tragedy of 9/11, is that risks need to be kept in perspective. A huge amount of attention and money gets spent on protecting IT systems from ingenious and malicious attacks. If the goal, though, is to earn a good return on IT investment with high availability of strategic applications that solve relevant problems in a way that creates competitive advantage, the seemingly mundane tasks of writing accurate and reasonable requirements and of rapidly converging on code that reliably meets them should perhaps be higher on the enterprise development agenda.
Tell me what sets your development threat level to Red at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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