Why Developer Tools Stick

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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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