Art, Craft, Science or Engineering?
There have been many discussions in the past on whether software development is an art, craft, science or engineering. For convenience, I am listing below the major ones that had profound influence on my thoughts over years
1. Book Software Craftsmanship – The New Imperative
2. From Craft to Science Part 1 and Part 2
3. The great art and craft of software development
4. Software engineering and the Art of Design
5. The art, science and engineering of software development
6. Manifesto of software craftsmanship
7. The privilege and responsibility of software development
9. What is software design?
10. Software that lasts 200 years
My view is that software development is a combination of all of above. My view is also that software is a construction of human mind or rather minds; and should I say human brains. Yes, mind and brain. Emotion and intellect. What is important to me is this human creation has pervaded virtually every aspect of life and business by now, unlike any other human creation, and hence business critical.
It is an art, it is a craft… beyond all that business depends on it; life and career of many depends on it. Hence, it is important to bring in continually better control, better quality, better transparency and better predictability into software development. Taking recourse to engineering is to this end. Engineering is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Engineering as a manager’s tool to have better control, better quality, better transparency and better predictability. From that standpoint, we find that apparently conflicting perspectives are not truly conflicting; they are different dimensions of software development.
Every successful software development manager knows this and manages his/her business accordingly. These fits into my overall management-engineering framework; result of applying learning into practice, and continually refining my learning based on observation.
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