If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you’ve may have noticed there are two patterns I talk about all the time: We’re doing something because everybody does it but we don’t know why. We’re doing something, but we don’t really believe in it so we’re doing it halfway and not getting any benefit. Object-Oriented Design often hits both those patterns – teams use OO languages for various reasons without thinking about what OO can do for them, and then teams don’t use OO design or programming tools in a way that can help them achieve their goals.
A long time ago, I studied research on what makes successful engineering teams. (Not programmers, other engineering fields). I don’t remember a lot of it, but one phrase stands out: “preserving ambiguity”. Successful teams don’t make decisions that aren’t needed, and they don’t get themselves locked in too early. One fact about the beginning of a project is that you know less about the project than you ever will. And yet teams are often asked to provide estimates, do architecture, and make long-ranging plans at the beginning of the project when it is guaranteed that some of the assumptions will be wrong.