[plt-scheme] Perplexed Programmers

From: Anton van Straaten (anton at appsolutions.com)
Date: Mon Aug 27 17:49:15 EDT 2007

(I thought I sent this the other day but it seems I didn't.)

Jos Koot wrote:
> This is really depressing. I think IT science has done and is doing a 
> great job and much of it has become available as adquirable technical 
> skills. I think management science, if it exists at all, is far behind. 

On the subject of blaming the managers, Bill Wood mentioned the 1968 
NATO report which coined the term "software crisis".  At a followup 
conference in Rome in 1969, "the discussion sessions which were meant to 
provide evidence of strong and extensive support for [setting up a 
NATO-funded International Software Engineering Institute] were instead 
marked by considerable scepticism, and led one of the participants, Tom 
Simpson of IBM, to write a splendid short satire on 'Masterpiece 

That satire can be found as an appendix on this page:


It's a fun piece.  The management approach that it skewers still causes 
problems today.  Admittedly, not every software project can be called a 
"masterpiece", but the act of creating code shares some basic 
unpredictable elements with other kinds of original creation.  Even in 
the most mundane projects, that fact impedes efforts to impose an 
assembly-line approach.


Posted on the users mailing list.