Software Engineering – An idea whose time has come and gone

Tom DeMarco reassesses his views on Software Engineering – An idea whose time has come and gone? He is wondering whether the advice he gave 40 years back was correct at the time, is still relevant today, and whether he still believes that metrics are a must for successful software development efforts? He is a brave and honest man because his answers are no, no, and no.

His most famous statement at the time was: “You can’t control what you can’t measure.” Today he willingly acknowledges that “Most things that really matter—honor, dignity, discipline, personality, grace under pressure, values, ethics, resourcefulness, loyalty, humor, kindness—aren’t measurable.

He has gradually come to the conclusion that software engineering is an idea whose time has come and gone, and concludes with, “Software development is and always will be somewhat experimental. The actual software construction isn’t necessarily experimental, but its conception is.

From this, my conclusion is: You can’t control most things that really matter!


Published by Jan Höglund

Jan Höglund has over 35 years of experience in different roles as engineer, manager, consultant, and researcher. This is his personal blog where he shares his reading and learning.

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