Day: 28 September 2009

Creativity – Yet another driver towards agile processes

Software developers are often creative people, having entered into software development precisely because of its need for creativity during implementation. While solving a logical problem might sound unrelated to creativity, the ability to solve that problem in many different ways and choosing the right way, is what requires the creativity. This is what turns a mundane data entry job into an exciting and fun job. Not only are there many different ways to implement algorithms or user interfaces, so that they provide the same inputs and outputs as required, there are many different ways depending upon the architectural or design view points taken. For example, should the implementation use as much reusable code as possible, or should the code be as simple, readable and hence maintainable as possible? Or is breaking architectural policy allowed, in order to ensure maintainability, productivity or other aspects, etc... So if programmers, designers and architects are so creative, is it a problem? Well it can be, when requirements specifications are rigid. Developers need a certain amount of leeway in order to feel that they are being creative whilst doing their job. If a specification goes into exact detail about how to implement something (which a requirements specification shouldn't actually need to do, unless the requirement is defining the inputs or outputs of the system), then a developer can feel there is no need for creativity, and the fun part of their job disappears quickly. Once that happens, developer motiviation becomes reduced and project success starts…

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