by Cesare Rocchi

Software Masonry

by Cesare Rocchi

We have been restoring our house for a few months. I saw many things that are pretty similar to the world of software development. Most of them are related to “executing a design”.

When you restore a house there’s usually an architect or a quantity surveyor that leads the job. They check out the house, take a lot of measures, come up with a blueprint and the masons are supposed to execute it. Do you see some similarity already? :) This plan looks like smooth sailing unless you hire a team of masons that give a shit, like I did.

They took the blueprint of my house and they came up with a bunch of variations so that I was able to save around 30% of the total cost estimated by the architect. Then I started talking to the masons. They told me it’s a pretty common thing. “People at the desk”, as they call architects, don’t get it. They don’t see the “real thing”, just lines on paper.

I have been handed many designs. I have been in a similar situation sometimes. I found variations that saved development time, without breaking the consistency or the “philosophy” of the design. Sometimes I was able to convince the client, sometimes I wasn’t. When I wasn’t the reason was one of the following:

  • money was not an issue (hard to believe, but true)
  • design was approved and signed with blood. Reviewing it would entail another month long discussion
  • the ego of the designer(s) was a huge obstacle.

I think we need more masons in our industry, people that give a shit, not just mere executors. In the future I am gonna try again to exploit the mason in me.

And you? Have you been in a similar situation? What was your experience. I look forward to read your blog post about it. Let me know on Twitter.