|Do you know where your variables are?|
I think you have hit upon an important point (which is only slightly related to the topic at hand).
It has always seemed rediculous to me that a carpenter or metalworker can delegate a piece of work to an apprentice by drawing a sketch on the back of an envelope and writing a few numbers on it. The sketch doesn't need to be accurate, if the numbers (including tolorences) are.
The key here is that they are drawing a representation of the "real world". And those numbers can be easily measured in the "real world". A carpenter or metalworker works directly with measurable physical reality.
There is also a knowledge base of carpentry and metalworking that goes back to pre-historic times, and common language for all the aspects of those crafts which goes back many thousands of years. I know what you mean when you say a "dovetail joint", and anyone with even basic carpentry skills will to. And even more importantly, the concept is understood well enough that it can mentally visualized easily and that mental image can be easily transposed into many unique situations without too much trouble. After all, it's only a dovetail right?
But the equivalent task of delegation in software requires, two hours, an overhead projector, several white boards and still what you get back may be as much related to what you envisaged as a Mac truck is to a tricycle.
This is because it is incredibly hard to describe something which cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be smelled, cannot be touched and cannot be tasted. As a matter of fact, software is nothing really at all but a collection of ideas and thoughts for which the end product is imperceptible patterns of magnetism on a round peice of metal (or metal coated plastic). Software works purely in the abstract.
It should also be noted that we as software craftspeople do not have a common knowledge base to draw off of. We instead have a whole lot of common knowledge bases, which we pick and choose from and argue about endlessly ;)
There is also no common language that we all share. Terminology is a disease, not a cure.
And lastly, this silliness that we all enjoy so much has really only been happening for about 50 years. Sure it's foundations are a little older than that, but the act of magnitizing small disks and using coordinated electical pulses to perform something akin to thought is a pretty new thing still.
Okay, enough of that silliness, I need more coffee!