What I've Learned From Failure

A quarter-century of experience shipping software, distilled into fixnum bittersweet essays

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About the Book

Reg "Raganwald" Braithwaite has been working as a professional software developer since 1986, in roles ranging from Sorceror's Apprentice to Vice-President, Development. "What I've Learned From Failure" collects his very best "non-technical" essays on the subject of shipping software into a lean but concentrated book (51 pages).

Manufactured from nearly 100% recycled blog posts. "What I’ve Learned From Failure" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface
    • copyright notice
  • About The Author
    • contact
  • What I’ve Learned From Failure
    • Why does failure matter?
    • The four most important causes of failure
    • People
    • Action
    • Details
    • The Schedule
    • Software
    • Power
    • History
    • Finishing
  • The Not So Big Software Design
    • Lemons
    • Building Better, Not Buzzwordier
    • Where is the client?
    • Better Software Architecture
  • Which Theory Fits the Evidence?
    • why do theory p and theory d matter?
    • belief drives behaviour
    • so which theory fits the evidence?
    • d is for “d’oh! we should have gone with p!”
  • Interlude: The Programmer’s Dilemma
  • Project Management acts like a Marketplace for Information
    • what kind of information sells?
  • Bricks
    • software is not made of bricks
    • assumption: it’s all about moving bricks
    • software development is difficult to parallelize
    • software is transfinite
    • building software without treating it like a pile of bricks
  • Trial-and-error with a feedback cycle
    • trial and error
    • feedback
    • productization
    • the scarce resource
  • Software’s Receding Hairline
    • receding hairlines
    • the tyranny of the urgent
  • Interlude: The Mouse Trap
    • The New Guy
    • Excel, VBA, XML, XSLT, Java!
    • Epilogue
  • Duck Programming
    • prelude: the project
    • what is duck programming?
    • why duck tastes so good
    • dangerous but manageable
    • how to manage duck programming
    • summary

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