At OOP 2014, Martin Fowler gave the final keynote, broadly called „Software Design in the 21st Century“. He delivered his keynote in two parts, „Workflows of Refactoring“ and „Not just code monkeys“. An infodeck for the first part is available online, so I won’t cover it here.
Frustration with Agile
Martin Fowler expressed his frustration with Agile. He observes that often programmers are dropped user stories onto them to turn them into code. But the Agile Manifesto talks about conversational stories, that Users/Analysts and Coders have conversations about what to build. He demands developers building domain knowledge (and I agree with him), with a reference to „Observed Requirement„.
Being part of those conversations brings responsibility to developers. As an example, Fowler referred to darkpatterns.org:
A Dark Pattern is a type of user interface that appears to have been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.
Someone have build those user interfaces. So Martin asked devs for „impact judgement“: question „which impact has the software on the users, which impact have the users to the world?“.
Not just code monkeys
Martin Fowler identified two areas of our impact as a developer:
- Alienating Athmosphere
There is a video on youtube that shows the rest of the keynote. I encourage you to watch it (it’s about 6 minutes).
Martin Fowler ended with strong words:
Change the world and make it better
I was really surprised by this strong statement and I think most of the audience was. It made a strong impression on me.
Here is another account on the keynote (in German).