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Armor and Sword

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

We hold many beliefs in software development. We believe the tools we use are better than the tools "someone else" uses. We believe our process is better than the process "someone else" uses.

Too often I see technical people use their beliefs as a sword to attack someone else. Attacks rarely persuade the other party. More often than not, the attack puts the other party into attack mode. They have their own set of beliefs.

Use your beliefs as armor to strengthen your own position.

Don’t tell me what’s wrong with my approach- show me what works with your approach.

Persuade me with elegant solutions and successful results.

Ricky Dhatt Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Perhaps a good example of persuasion is Scott Hanselman's recent post on Ruby?


Anyways, I look forward to Workin' Them Angels. :)
scott Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Yes - Scott knows how to persuade :)

You've figured it out :)
Ali Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I want to take print out of this post and paste in our conference room, as often in code reviews people tends to shift from providing positive feedback to improve code, to making sure code is written in the very way they write themselves.
c.j. anderson Saturday, June 9, 2007
well said. just remember the caution from "The Way the Wind Blows" [how did I not know that this was a pro-Rush blog?]:

So many people think that way
You gotta watch what you say
To them and them, and others too
Who don't seem to see to things the way you do
Søren Bak Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Hi Scott,

As sympathetic as your suggestion is, I think that we need to insist on having an objective discussion about tools and methods. Otherwise we can easily let ourselves be persuaded into believing that this or that marvelous tool will do wonders. It is not just a question about elegance and success which can be bought from artists and effective marketing - it is also about productivity, safety, security, maintainability, interoperability and so on.

The sad thing is that many discussions about methods and tools that start on a rational basis end up with one part defending his beliefs. For example, when I asked exactly what David Heinemeier Hansson (RoR) meant by "startling productivity increase", his answer was this:

"And of course the term is vague. Without scientific data, it's hardly worth being exact. What is worth something, though, is retelling the experiences of people who've actually tried to switch from X to Rails."

So it is the "feel" that makes RoR so hip.

I think that it is very difficult to have a serious discussion on such a basis and more often than not there is no result at all. But if we don't want to go to the holy church of Ruby or participate in the sacred rituals of Intellisense in a few years, we must keep asking critical questions about the beliefs of ourselves and others.

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