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You get what you measure and Scrum has no measure at all for design. I’m now curious to see some projects that Ken Schwaber worked on.



I'm certainly not defending Scrum. But I think one of Scrum's big problems is relying on proximate measures rather than actual results. It values output much more than outcome. So I think the way to get good design isn't to try to measure design. It's to release early and often, making sure that products fulfill their purpose.


I think our whole industry is full of proxies for the things we actually care about, which is for instance why we rant so often about the hiring process.

For another example, look at what we talk about with Clean Code or SOLID principles. We have that old joke about the two hardest things are naming things, cache invalidation and off by one errors. I think the fourth hardest one is resolving merge conflicts.

You work carefully on code for weeks or months and then in one fell swoop it all gets broken when you aren't looking at it anymore. It's really bad for morale.

If you read through all of these Best Practices with the notion that merge conflicts are dangerous, then you start to see them as designed to keep conflicts from happening. Putting related code together isn't just about reading comprehension. It's also about keeping unrelated code apart. You and I can work on unrelated stories without ever doing a 3 way merge.

And if you look at merges as the problem, you start doing things like alphabetizing data structures that don't have a strong cohesiveness to them because then when you and I add a feature to the same data structure, we aren't both modifying the bottom of the file. I put something under T and you put it under G.

To put this another way, if in some perfect future someone invented a merge tool that never screws up, so that we only get merge conflicts when two people are accidentally working on the same feature/bug, we might start to question all of these practices as overwrought.




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