Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Is there a limit to what software can do?

Grady Booch wrote an article for Rational Edge a few years ago explaining the physical limitations of what software can do. The article is still available, but now on IBM developerWorks (http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/2082.html).

To kind of summarize, there are some things in software engineering that are possible to achieve and some that are impossible. Of the possible ones we currently know how to achieve some while we have no clue about the rest. Of the ones we know how to achieve, some we can actually afford to, while other are too expensive to achieve, leaving in between a grey area where we can either make a reasonable estimate or we will be able to afford in a year or two. We are also likely to be restricted by our management and organisations further by imposed rules and regulations to be followed, some for a well motivated reason, others for more obscure beliefs.

Further more, we unintentionally add errors and magnify any uncertainties in our understanding of the requirements. Some of the tasks in SW engineering are also are less motivating than others, further making the end result more uneven.

I somehow don't think that the hard limits to software engineering efficiency are anywhere near. I feel that the way we go about doing things are not anywhere near the level we could achieve

My intention is to further describe what is limiting our ability to solve IT related problems
as efficiently as possible in upcoming posts to this blog.

No comments: