Managing Software for Growth: Without Fear, Control, and the Manufacturing Mindset

by Roy Miller

This book starts by describing how Taylor’s Scientific Management has lead us down the incorrect road of thinking software can be managed like steel manufacturing. The author does a great job of presenting these fundamentals and presenting the conclusion that a new model for thinking about software is needed.

To find an alternative model the author draws on ideas from complexity science. He presents the idea that we need to think of software as growing rather than something we control if we can just add one more level of detail to our Gantt charts. If we think of software as emerging from the environment in which it is started we can exert influence on the growth of the software so that it grows toward our goals. However, we still can’t control it like we can control steel manufacturing or an assembly line.

An earlier reviewer has commented that there is much to disagree with in this book. I think the author of the book would scream “Yes! Exactly!” Of course there’s much to argue and debate with in this book. The book is full of original thinking and is proposing a radical shift in the thinking of most software professionals; that is bound to stir up debate and some disagreement.