Saturday, October 22, 2005

RUP and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Here's a recent post I never quite finished. I wish I had something more to say on the topic, but will just post what is here as is, instead.

The recent release of a subset of the Rational Unified Process to the open source community gave many of my friends who have worked with it a chuckle. On paper it seems like a pretty reasonable process. In practice, what I've seen is, management focuses too much on the process itself rather than the software the process it is trying to produce. In addition there are all the unintended consequences of such a heavy handed approach to development. I found the following list of some of these consequences on a SlashDot posting talking about this exact subject.

don't forget "The Law of Unintended Consequences" which shows that:

1. As accountability goes up attitude, morale, productivity, and efficiency go down

2. Once you hit critical mass on paperwork, process, etc you destroy motivation - there's some point on the curve at which point everyone just says 'who cares' and 'why bother'

3. It's impossible to really anticipate everything upfront, which means that minor changes that in a system and organization that embraces agility & resilience can be easily handled in stride take 40x as long in an organization afraid of blame.

4. Most of the work is done by the motivated and talented 10% of the staff. these people leave rather than put up with the bureaucracy designed to hinder the 90% that are unproductive.

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