April 8, 2006

A blueprint for the analytical organization

I just ran across Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene’s great article What Corporate Projects Should Learn From Open Source. Basically, it’s a detailed argument for the virtues of the open source ethos — careful analysis, transparent analysis, open-minded analysis, honest analysis. Nothing real new there, but they did a particularly good job of spelling it out.

And then it struck me — their arguments don’t just apply to software development. It’s really just basic good management sense, very similar to what business schools and BI vendors have been trumpeting for years. Only in their case the motherhood-and-apple-pie rhetoric is bolstered by — well, by analysis.* After all, we can do fairly objective after-the-fact observations as to whether and to what degree any given development project has succeeded.

*At least of the handwaving sort — but does anybody really doubt that what surveys and anecdotal consensus seem to show about software development projects is essentially correct?

If I can, I’ll flesh out these ideas into one of my next columns.


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