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Some a-priori good qualities of software development

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We software developers live in a time with an inexhaustible supply of methodologies, libraries, tools and ideas. Evidence for or against specific ideas is sparse: Gathering trustworthy, controlled data in such complex environments is crazy expensive.

In order to navigate the landscape We Are Wizards picked a few principles that we believe to be good a priori.

Short iterations

We believe that short iterations are a great way of managing risk. The left graphs is how we prefer to work, the right graph could e.g. be the failed £12 billion NHS project.

Short iterations are harder to sell because each individual iteration in itself is a bit disappointing and unambitious. However, we believe that they significantly improve overall velocity.

Simple but not easy

Simple is the opposite of complex. Complexity is bad: The butterfly flaps its wings and triggers a catastrophe in a completely different component.

It is counter-intuitive but simplicity requires a lot of upfront work and thought (see left graph).

In contrast easy means following the route of least resistance. At the beginning projects move fast, but soon complexity catches up, slowing down your development (right graph).

We believe in spending a little time at the beginning to keep things simple.


Complexity must scale sub-linear with the number of moving parts in the project:

We're consciously omitting the how in this post (e.g. layering, stateless, ...) because it detracts from the main point: If complexity scales super-linearly then your project can never grow beyond a certain size.