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Posted by: Brent Meacham on Apr 19, 2011

Real Software Engineering

The other day I watched a great presentation about Software Engineering from Glenn Vanderburg, of InfoEther. The term software engineering is often met with criticism. Is developing software really an engineering discipline? Isn’t engineering more about calculus? And what about all those software projects that fail? If building software is an engineering discipline, many people are surely doing it wrong. Vanderburg also addresses the waterfall process, where it came from, how it rose in popularity and why it so frequently produced late, misguided or failed software. He describes how modeling relates to engineering and software, and why and when it should be used.

Vanderburg sheds light on the the engineering process. He discusses how software is very different from some traditional disciplines, but very similar to others. He also talks about methods that are being used in the software development industry today that provide customers with working software that functions as it should, is delivered within budget, and does not require endless documentation. The question he asks is “why do we use the term ‘software engineering’ as a definition for a practice that doesn’t work.” This video is a must see if you ever see yourself working with software development (whether from the development or the management side).

If anyone doubts the validity of what he says in his speech, it is worth noting that InfoEther (the company in which he is a partner) was recently purchased by Living Social for a large (undisclosed) sum.


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