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I absolutely agree that there is no silver bullet. But there are quite a few lead bullets that when aimed accurately can make a real difference.

None of them are prescriptive methodologies, though. They are all things like incrementalism, automation, and high quality code.




Agreed 100%. I like your metaphor of lead bullets. There's no silver bullet that will win a war, but you sure aren't going to win without putting the lead bullets in the right places.


To torture the armory metaphor further, there are also land mines that you would want to avoid to keep from getting limbs blown off.

In that metaphor, traditional waterfall is a land mine filled with plutonium shrapnel and anthrax spores.


Well, unless when it isn't.

Some times you have a clear and well understood problem, and failures are very expensive. You'd be crazy to work on such kinds of environments with anything but waterfall.


Correct. One can see that very well defined in the NASA/JPL software guidance documents. Definitely not agile, but works for their situation.


I believe that clear and well understood problems with expensive failures actually exist, but are rare enough that the lessons there aren't really instructive for the vast majority of professional software developers.

Some people have to do underwater welding, but the methodologies there aren't appropriate for building cabinets, even though they are both types of construction.


Incrementalism and automation may be "lead bullets", but "high quality code" is more the target you are shooting at.


I'd disagree here and replace that with "fufilling business needs" - the highest quality code is meaningless if it doesn't do what your customer wants in the way they want it done.

Good craftsmanship is usually correlated with a good end product, but craftsmanship for its own sake is a hobby, not a career.


Indeed. The best code is no code.




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