Ramsay’s Software Nightmares, anyone?

July 10, 2007 — Leave a comment

Who wants to be the “Gordon Ramsay”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Ramsay of software development? Because we freakin need one — there’s absolutely no shortage of places to fix.

Having just watched “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”:http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsay%27s_Kitchen_Nightmares on TV tonight, I realized how much the kitchen nightmares portrayed in the series are like some of the software development nightmares I run into as a freelance consultant.

While most of the software development teams aren’t exactly failing completely and their companies about to file for bankruptcy, there’s a long list of striking resemblances with the restaurants in the TV series: People are running around utterly confused, not communicating properly, and the so-called managers are doing a terrible job of being in charge. The team members have either lost their love and passion for writing software or just don’t know their craft. And if they have a structured approach to software development, it’s more often than not using out of date methods and tools resulting in out of date productivity and results — they are serving fondue and cheesecake, when they could be practicing “molecular gastronomy”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_gastronomy.

So why do these software shops still have customers? Well, my take on it is that the customers simply do not have the skills necessary to tell a good software development shop from a bad one. And the worst thing is, if they had the skills, there would be awfully few to choose from.

As they say in the TV series: It’s going to be hell! Are you going to answer the 911 call?

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