Why Developer Tools Stick


Some tools are very popular with software developers while some just fizzle out. What accounts for this difference?

There are lots of variables that determine the stickiness of a tool (or even methodology). Here's a sociological explanation for what sticks and why.

For something to become sticky as a development tool or methodology, it must have two kinds of utility -- operational, political, and personal. (That's my hypothesis.) Here's how each breaks out.

  1. Operational Utility - making it easier to do the job

    1. Ability to improve code quality

    2. Ability to improve development productivity

    3. Ability to improve communication and coordination

  2. Political Utility - making it easier to defend how software gets made and delivered

    1. Symbolic – signal it sends to other developers and management

    2. Support/Confidence it provides that we’re doing things in a professional way

    3. Defense/Rationale – ability to use it to present, elaborate, and justify the work done to managers and senior executives (metrics, artifacts that show progress and establish that a robust methodology is being used)

  3. Personal Utility -- ability to enhance resume.

Have I missed any? Which ones are necessary? Which ones are sufficient?

Filed in: Industry News
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