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Backblog: Anecdotal Evidence

In the next few weeks, I will be going through the backlog of things I accumulated in the last months that I want to touch in this blog. The first one dates back from october, but ties in nicely with my last posts about CUSEC. It’s from Martin Fowler.

This approach – some people report their story, others copy it with or without success – is the backbone of how a profession can learn. The fact that it’s anecdotal doesn’t stop it from working – after all much of our entire economic system is built on people building on each others’ anecdotes of how businesses should be run.

MF Bliki: AnecdotalEvidence

It’s very tough in software engineering to come up with empirical evidence on a particular practice. Some would say it’s impossible. So we have to rely on anecdotes of what worked for someone on a particular project, in a specific context, with individuals, etc. There are a lot of variables involved which make it difficult to reproduce the practice in your situation. However, it’s the best we can get and it doesn’t mean we can’t learn anything. In fact, I would argue we learn more because it actually forces us to acknowledge the differences in what we’re doing and it forces us to better adapt to our circumstances.

It’s important for our profession that people discuss what they’ve tried, what worked for them, what didn’t, etc. This is why I think conferences like CUSEC are very important. It’s a place to gather and share our experiences. The presentation from Motorola on their adoption of agile practices is the best example of this.

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2 Responses to Backblog: Anecdotal Evidence

  1. Alice says:

    Dearest Desiree, I just wanted to tell you why you don’t hear from me. My heltah is not very good, and because of that I had to let go of most of the blogging – comments and daily posts. I hope you are fine, I can see you have done a lot lately of exciting things – I loved the pictures from the old school and how ecxiting with Ikea!! I will visit you from time to time, Desiree, and hope that I can come back fully recovered even if that will take time… Lots of love to you from Laila

  2. Eric says:

    Nice! The Ubuntu One store plugin has a few neat-ish tcirks around injecting JavaScript into the embedded Webkit widget from the external plugin (both the C music-store widget itself, and the Banshee extension that embeds it) that you might find useful for further extending this. Since we went through some of the pain on that front, let me know if you run into problems (captcha: commit it . Ha!)

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