Craftsmanship, Quality, Dogma, and Pragmatism

Steve Smith has some interesting things to say about one of the passionate debates of the day among developers:

In the last year or so, there has been an increasing amount of discussion on software craftsmanship, and what it means and whether or not it’s a good thing.  There’s an online email list, a conference with the same name, and at least one user group devoted to the subject (in related news, I’m helping to organize a similar group in Hudson, Ohio).  There is some good discussion going on in this sphere about what it means to be a craftsman, but there are other discussions (mostly happening elsewhere) that question the value of craftsmanship with equally valid reasoning.  I’ve heard from several successful business owners that they don’t want to hire artists and craftsmen devoted to making beautiful and elegant code, they want programmers who can get the job done with a minimum of fuss so they can move on to the next task.  At issue here is the notion that some of the values held by those who believe quality is of great import don’t always fit in with the business needs of the day.

Steve goes on to share a nice analogy that I think reflects very accurately the real-world trade-offs to be made between quality and cost, and discusses why folks who are dogmatic rather than pragmatic about their application development may put both themselves and their customers at a disadvantage, particularly in tough economic times.

Definitely good food for thought. Read the whole thing.

Craftsmanship, Quality, Dogma, and Pragmatism : Steve Smith's Blog

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