It was inspired by him, yes! I had linked to his radio story which first made me think about this inline in the article. Thanks for your feedback, I’ve updated the article text to make the citation clearer.
You make an excellent point about refactoring and complexity reduction. In fact, our biggest take-away with this experience wasn’t that it was a failure of Rick’s.
It was our lack of process — particularly collaboration process — that let him down.
There was a marked decline in his code quality over time. The early stuff was filled with those clever “aha!” moments which are just delightful to read. The sloppy shortcuts started coming later.
One of my favorite quotes about software engineering is from Martin Fowler: “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.”
I also liked your note about the requirements. We very rarely get “complete” requirements, and not all requirements are created equal…
This really hits the nail on the head. In particular these staff often haven’t had responsibility that translates to purchase management before.
It’s empowering to be placed in charge of a solution in your knowledge domain but not without training or oversight. The costs quickly get out of control!
Nice article! One of the challenges for nonprofits is that they are often trying to present their best face to very different visitors at the same time.
They want to show a very different side to grantors and other big funders than the every-day donor or volunteer. Service-oriented nonprofits also have to make their websites…