One of the most interesting projects I ever did was for a city in Arizona ... refurbishing the database that they use to track routine projects like, say, the repaving of a section of city street. First of all, you’ll be stunned to learn exactly how much those projects cost. Second, you will also be stunned to be presented with a break-down list of projects (most of them subcontracted out) which might be several hundred line-items long. All this, “just to repave a street.”
Now, you might argue, “but everybody knows how to repave a street ... this is (tahh dahh!!) software development.” And to this I would but reply, “horse-(!).”
By now, the world has witnessed hundreds of thousands of software development projects, both big and small. We actually know very well how to design and execute them. It is, or it should be, a robust and repeatable process. Like putting in a new street where no street has gone before.
We grant college degrees in “software engineering,” but that does not mean what “civil engineering” means, nor “mechanical engineering.” There is no professional licensing and certification. Perhaps this is part of the reason why so many things that we build, fall down.
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