Trades, Crafts, and Certification

Dan North says that programming is a trade, and not a craft.  I agree with him that it’s a trade, like plumbing and wiring.  I’ve already disagreed with his definition of craft.  I’d say that programming is a craft only when it’s done well.  I’d also say that plumbing and wiring are crafts when done well.  Rather than a definition, how about a couple examples to illustrate the point? (Continued)

Software Craftsmanship

Dan North has created a bit of a stir with his declaration that programming is not a craft. Liz Keogh has agreed with him.  The funny thing is that most of what they have to say is not about programming, but about the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship.  Well, writing is a craft, also, and I’ll agree with Dan that this manifesto is not “a call-to-arms, feisty, opinionated, brash and everything that a good manifesto should be.”  It never grabbed me the way the Agile Manifesto did.  Dave Hoover has taken this challenge as a call to improve the software craftsmanship manifesto.

I didn’t “sign” the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship because I thought it was particularly well written, though.  I signed it because I support the intent (as I perceive it, and which Ade Oshineye defends) behind that manifesto.  Writing software is a craft, and there are far too many people who don’t treat it that way. (Continued)

If Scrum certification is the answer, what might be the problem?

Ron Jeffries has written a nice article on some of the effects, both positive and negative, of the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) program. On the positive side, he notes that it does interest people in training. I’m less optimistic that the training they receive will result in many improved projects. The CSM training teaches people how to follow the Scrum process, and tries to give them a little boost in courage for dealing with the inevitable impediments. Is that the difference between a troubled project and an improved one? (Continued)

Normally, I’d relish a mention on InfoQ

This article on InfoQ bothers me.  It seems to draw only from Dave Nicolette’s blog post [now lost due to the defacement of his old blog] and the subsequent comments.  Dave’s post is similar, in my mind, to a trip report that someone might give to an organization after a class or conference.  He goes into some detail about what happened at the first ever Certified Scrum Developer course, and muses about what he learned.  The bulk of the comments are an interchange between Dave and Tobias Mayer where, it appears to me, Tobias doesn’t think that the course comes up to the standard of the CSM course.  This is, of course, based on Dave’s description, as Tobias wasn’t present at the course.

The InfoQ article mentions me by name, but doesn’t mention other participants other than Dave.  It also misquotes Dave [now edited without any indication of doing so], and implies that the learnings that Dave got out of our retrospective conversation after the course was a list agreed upon by both of us.  There was apparently no fact checking done on this article.  Certainly no one spoke with Ron Jeffries or with me about it.  I find the article misleading enough that I need to respond.

I had planned to write about the course, but this isn’t the article I’d planned. (Continued)

Some of the smartest people I know…

Some of the smartest people I know are ranting that certification doesn’t prove the person is worthy.  Well, of course it doesn’t.  No certification does that.

It only says you’ve met the requirements for the certificate.

Of course, they really know that.  So I don’t know why they’re making such a fuss.

A number of them have made public statements that they discriminate against people who hold certifications.  That really saddens me. (Continued)

Of course it’s a misnomer

On Twitter, my good friend Mike Sutton said, “CSD is a misnomer. The value of existing Certifications needs to be justified before new ones are released.”

Many of the terms we use are misnomers.  For example, “acceptance testing” is a misnomer because it doesn’t indicate acceptance if the tests pasts–it indicates lack of acceptance if the tests fail.

What is the misnomer in the phrase “certified scrum developer?”  (Continued)