How Henry Ford Might View Software Development

In 1922, Henry Ford wrote in his ground breaking book, My Life and Work, these words:

“I believe that the average farmer puts to a really useful purpose only about 5% of the energy he expends…. Not only is everything done by hand, but seldom is a thought given to a logical arrangement. A farmer doing his chores will walk up and down a rickety ladder a dozen times. He will carry water for years instead of putting in a few lengths of pipe. His whole idea, when there is extra work to do, is to hire extra men. He thinks of putting money into improvements as an expense…. It is waste motion— waste effort— that makes farm prices high and profits low.”

I do believe if Mr. Ford lived today, this book might contain text similar to this:

“I believe that the average software developer puts to a really useful purpose only about 5% of the energy she expends…. Not only is everything done by hand, but seldom is a thought given to a logical arrangement. A developer doing her tasks will write code on their machine and keep it there without integration for weeks. She will manually test the same piece of code over and over for months instead of putting in a few basic automated tests. Her whole idea, when there is extra work to do, is to hire extra people. She thinks of putting money into improvements as an expense…. It is waste motion— waste effort— that makes software project failure high and profits low.”

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