Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Code Slinging

I've thought for a while that I should start a development related blog where I can drop bits of development related goodness. The name Code Slinging came to me while reading the Contrasted with "cowboy coding" section in the wikipedia article on Agile Software Development. It was the first time I'd heard the term but thought it very apt and it prompted me to go ahead with creating this blog.

The interesting thing is that anyone who has ever written code would more or less have had experience with the Cowboy Coding methodology, if we can really call it a methodology since it lacks structured methods and procedures.

Like I said, it was the first time I had heard the term but as I read it's definition it all seemed very reminiscent of anything I had done on my own or even most group work while at university. The initial reaction is that it has a negative connotation (especially after having worked on an agile team for the past year and on a modified RUP team previous to that) but on further thought I can see merit in actually choosing it as a development methodology in certain circumstances. These circumstance, rare as they may be, would require a small, skilled team of individuals who trust one another and their abilities and who have near complete autonomy in the decision making process. However, I think these circumstances are so rare and the conditions for successful execution so difficult to achieve that it renders Cowboy Coding a viable option only when the decision maker is the sole developer on a project. Basically one man jobs or personal projects.

Cowboy Coding can in many cases very much resemble agile methods because they both have working software as a measure of success, they are both adaptive methods and they both require trust between developers (to be successful). However, without a focus on some integral agile principles (like specific timeblocks that are in themselves complete development cycles) it cannot be classified as such.

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