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From: Andreas Huber (ahd6974-spamgroupstrap_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-10-31 06:36:49

Johan Nilsson wrote:
>>> I'm mostly a lurker here, but even so I believe I've seen people
>>> from time to time declaring their willingness to participate in
>>> developing a new library, without getting some real response. Take
>>> them in, let them be a part of the effort, and maybe the NIH
>>> problem will be lessened.
>> I'm rather skeptical about that approach. Groups of similarly capable
>> people are usually not very good at *designing* a library (unless
>> there's a boss who has the last word on all the decisions).
> So you mean that a single capable person beats a group of capable
> people?

No, not in general. I just think that intuition, IMO the primary
ingredient in the initial design phase, isn't something that can easily
be spread over multiple brains. You can surely collect requirements,
opinions, etc. from a group, but I've never seen a coherent design
spring from more than one mind at the same time.

> I realize that having a group of people trying to work out a
> design across the internet might not be feasible, but generally I
> still think that having a group of people together in the same room,
> preferrably at a white board, beats a single person.

I've worked quite some time in so-called "architecture teams", where
multiple people sitting in one room try to design something. In almost
all cases, it was an individual who had a good idea and then convinced
the rest of us. Sometimes, a good idea of one inidividual sparked an
even better idea in another individual, but I've only seen that
happening a couple of times. It is questionable whether the initial
inventor wouldn't have had the better idea himself, only a little later,
e.g. while working out the details.

> It is much too easy locking yourself into a single mindset when you
> work alone at the drawing board. This is why I heartily supports the
> idea of discussing the design openly, collecting the feedback and
> ideas - before putting so much time into developing and refining the
> library that it feels like so much work has gone into the library
> that one doesn't wan't to give up the design.

I agree, that's why I think that an individual should work out a draft
design all by himself and then present it to the group. After the group
has responded she can go back and resolve the raised issues and refine
the design. Depending on the complexity of the library, it usually takes
several such rounds before the design is reasonably complete.

> Just so that you don't
> misunderstand me, I know I discussed with you quite a lot about the
> fsm library but I'm definitely not pointing fingers anywhere
> specifically here. People must be allowed to defend their design
> decisions as well as people must be allowed to challenge them, IMHO.

Definitely, I hope my post did not make the opposite impression.

>> However, I
>> think groups are unbeatable at uncovering design-flaws.
> True, OTOH it is much easier to find a design flaw than to generate a
> good, solid design.



Andreas Huber
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