It is well known today that building software is a really personal experience. Old studies have proven that the best software engineers don’t like people. According to M. Cannon and Dallas K. Perry, they dislike people activities involving close personal interaction. Hopefully it totally makes sense doesn’t it? Just to have fun, let’s imagine what would happen if this fundamental assumption of the IT industry was wrong.
A wrong culture might have emerged
Women are usually better in terms of soft skills like empathy and humility. If programming was a social activity, the initial bias in favor of men with the stereotype of the coder geek playing Dungeon and Dragons in his basement would have created a totally wrong culture. With more women involved, we may talk much more about people, ethics and other unproductive stuff. But we avoided this nightmare, most discussions are about the last Framework shipped by any big companies, which is much more productive and keep our industry sanity safe.
Evaluating individual performance would be a nonsense
The second problem would be in terms of management. How the hell could you know which one of your employees deserve the best paycheck if what they produce is a global teamwork? And probably more important: how would you know who to punish in case of failure? In such a case, the whole management principle from Taylorism and Fordism would need to be changed.
Also that would highly discredit the 10x engineer fact! If you have a 10x engineer as part of your first few engineers, you increase the odds of your start-up success significantly. Because building a startup is mostly about coding something in your basement or in your student’s room, not at all about experimenting fast and understanding people.
Working in group would be a common approach
Can you imagine that? Two people behind the same screen at the same time? Do we need two people to drive a car? Or even a train? Of course not.
And what if they work with more than 2 people? All the brilliant people working on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and on the same computer?
That would mean that building software might be harder than flying a plane or doing some surgery? Let’s be serious, telling a machine what to do cannot be as complex as these disciplines, which require a high level of study and a long-life practice to be mastered.
The IT industry would be a perpetual crisis
I think the best argument is that most software project would have been a failure during the last 70 years if software programming was a social activity. Most projects would have been over time, or over budget, or even not release at all even though they cost lots of money.
If that was the case we would already have heard about it and fix it right?
What if programming was a social activity?
Anyways, I think I’ve demonstrated why programming cannot reasonably be a social activity.
Of course, if developers were responsible for critical infrastructure, or if they could code decision about human life, maybe that would make sense?