Ed Yourdon, one of the participants of the ICSE Peopleware panel I blogged about, has an extremely informative description of the panel’s discussion in his blog.
Here’s an insightful bit: During the panel, Tom DeMarco half-jokingly blamed Barry Boehm (another panelist) for the relatively slow adoption of agile development. Boehm, after all, had reported that the cost of fixing software defects rises exponentially on the time between their injection and their discovery. Yourdon describes:
[DeMarco] said that as a result, the commandment “get the requirements right!” was drummed into the heads of a generation of software engineers. Tom turned towards Barry, smiled, wagged his finger, and said, “And I have never forgiven you!”
Barry Boehm relieved the tension in the air by agreeing with Tom. He explained that, back in the 1970s, he had linked up with Win Royce at TRW, where the two of them found that the waterfall methodology worked pretty well. But he acknowledged that they were working in an application domain (aerospace systems, military systems), and in a time, when the end-user’s requirements were fairly well-defined; consequently, it made a great deal of sense to capture those requirements early, rather than discovering later on that a great deal of software had been built to implement the wrong requirements. But Boehm acknowledged that by the 1980s, things had begun to change drastically … and obviously this continues to be true today.
Well worth a read.
Also, Yourdon entered a small comment in my ICSE post. I think it’s the first time that the author of books I read more than a decade ago as an undergrad comments my blog. It’s quite an honour.
Unfortunately, he called me Chris.