Does software-engineering focus on the wrong subject?
From: CTips (ctips_at_bestweb.net)
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 07:46:15 -0500
A lot, if not all, of software-engineering focuses on issues such as
processes to build software or how to measure software quality, or what
standards software products should satisfy. They exclude what, to my
mind, should be the central question of software scholarship - how to
make individual programmers more productive.
We know that there is a huge difference in productivity between the best
and the average programmer - anecdotally, the spread is something like
20x to 50x. But very little literature discusses exactly how to improve
an average programmer.
For instance - what's the fastest way of doubling the productivity of a
team of 10 average programmers? Fire them all, and hire 2 very good (10x
productive) programmers. Some interesting fall-out:
- Given current salary spreads, it'll be much cheaper (1/2?)
- Less "process" is necessary
- Because of the decrease in team size, the productivity gain is more
than 2x - probably closer to 3x.
Now, why isn't there much done on the subject? Is it because most
programmers are incapable of becoming much better? Or is it because most
researchers on the subject are in the "if you can't do, teach" category?
Or is it because its very difficult to package and sell?