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Our Obsesssion with Efficiency

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Dan North doesn't believe in efficiency -- it's our obsession with efficiency that has got us into the current technology mess, and which has led almost directly to heavy waterfall processes. Dan believes that efficiency is how you let the big vendors sell their bloated technologies to the poor CIOs.

In this presentation, recorded at Øredev 2009, Dan North explores the notion of 'efficiency,' its evolution in modern systems thinking and provides a very important disctinction between efficiency and effectiveness.  Within the context of agile software development, pair programming, cross-functional teams, and even experimentation may not necessarily be efficient, but they could mean the difference between project failure and project success. 

About the Presenter

Dan has been writing software for over 15 years, and is a principal consultant with technology consultancy ThoughtWorks. He spends his time helping teams become more effective at delivering software, and presents at conferences such as JAOO, Agile and OOPSLA on topics ranging from learning theory to behaviour-driven development. He has published articles in the Java Developers' Journal and Better Software, and for CIO newsletters and the DSDM consortium.


Published at DZone with permission of its author, Nitin Bharti.

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


Jeroen Wenting replied on Wed, 2010/02/17 - 5:49am

Efficiency is good. Problem is that for decades efficiency has been defined as flexibility, and often it's not the same. Waterfall can be highly efficient for example, but isn't flexible, and therefore has gotten a bad rep. Mind I say CAN be highly efficient. It doesn't have to be.

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