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I am an experienced software development manager, project manager and CTO focused on hard problems in software development and maintenance, software quality and security. For the last 15 years I have been managing teams building electronic trading platforms for stock exchanges and investment banks around the world. My special interest is how small teams can be most effective at building real software: high-quality, secure systems at the extreme limits of reliability, performance, and adaptability. Jim is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 102 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Please, no more Manifestos

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For some reason, people involved in software development have a thing for Manifestos (always with a Capital M). It all started with the Agile Manifesto. Then came the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto, signed by serious programmers big and small, except ironically the original author of Software Craftsmanship.

Then there have been other, less practical and less successful manifestos, like the Rugged Software Manifesto which as I have explained before was proclaimed with the naïve understanding that reciting feel-good phrases will somehow make developers write better software.
“I am rugged…”
And the even-less-practical but much-more fun-to-read manifesto for truly hard-core programmers (there really is no problem that you can’t program your way out of) and of course the cynical Half-Arsed Agile Manifesto.

What brought this all up is that some people involved in DevOps still feel incomplete without a Manifesto of their very own.

This is a shame, because I like following what’s happening in DevOps and learning from the best (and worst) of it, and I want them to keep doing what they’re doing.

I don’t see the point in manifestos. They don’t move me or change the way that I think or work. I can get through each day without having to refer to a manifesto. I want tools and concrete ideas that I can use to get things done, to do a better job. Not motherhood or bullshit. Patterns and anti-patterns and recipes and best practices (and worst practices) – these are useful. But Manifestos? Useless, or at their worst, dangerous:
Workers of the world unite….
Look how that one worked out.

Manifestos s are a way to keep people from thinking and asking questions.
Oh no, people have more than one way of thinking about a problem, or what something means!
This is not a bad thing. This is a GOOD THING! This is how we move forward, this is how we get better. What we’re doing isn’t simple, or right, or wrong, so let’s stop pretending.

Or maybe Andrew Shafer is right
A manifesto, by definition, is essentially a marketing document.
“Re: Time for a DevOps Manifesto?”
Either way, we don’t need more manifestos. What we need is people to keep thinking and asking questions, and getting things done.
Published at DZone with permission of Jim Bird, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Dean Schulze replied on Tue, 2011/07/05 - 9:55am

Here's the best credo I've seen for software development:

Ahh, the good old days before we had any Manifestos.

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