Ramsay’s Software Nightmares, anyone?

Posted by Jesper on July 10, 2007

Who wants to be the Gordon Ramsay of software development? Because we freakin need one—there’s absolutely no shortage of places to fix.

Having just watched Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares on TV tonight, I realized how much the kitchen nightmares portrayed in the series are like some of the software development nightmares I run into as a freelance consultant.

While most of the software development teams aren’t exactly failing completely and their companies about to file for bankruptcy, there’s a long list of striking resemblances with the restaurants in the TV series: People are running around utterly confused, not communicating properly, and the so-called managers are doing a terrible job of being in charge. The team members have either lost their love and passion for writing software or just don’t know their craft. And if they have a structured approach to software development, it’s more often than not using out of date methods and tools resulting in out of date productivity and results—they are serving fondue and cheesecake, when they could be practicing molecular gastronomy.

So why do these software shops still have customers? Well, my take on it is that the customers simply do not have the skills necessary to tell a good software development shop from a bad one. And the worst thing is, if they had the skills, there would be awfully few to choose from.

As they say in the TV series: It’s going to be hell! Are you going to answer the 911 call?

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