The Complexity of Modern Systems

I am a big advocate of version control and testing for your software. The main reason is that modern systems are incredibly complex, and capturing what has been done (and what is happening), along with looking for potential issues, is important. It might be critical for ensuring you have success in building software.

Part of the reason is this post on software complexity. Now I don’t think the complexity is killing software developers. I do think it adds to developers’ stress, and in poorly managed environments, the complexity makes for a poor job experience for many.  While I do think most people are smart, and they find ways to overcome this, they just don’t enjoy the process.

This is part of the reason, IMHO, that we are starting to see lots of people move to a new role, often in a new company. With remote work, there are more options, and for people with talent, they can easily leave. My recent job searches seem to show more remote job options and more demand for mid and senior level people. I think some of this is looking to get better talent in your company, and some are because experienced people are tired of poor work environments and poor code.

Modern software is big, and I don’t think any system of consequence is built by individuals anymore. There are still good projects and applications being built by a person, but once they start to grow, a team of developers is needed. This means that we have to learn how to better work together. We need to adhere to standards. We need to communicate and collaborate both in code as developers and together as humans.

While someone may understand how the entire system works, it’s unlikely that many of our staff does. If the system is large, it’s unlikely anyone completely understands, and then our ability to function as a team is incredibly important to be sure that we are building something that works well together.

To me, the complexity of modern systems emphasizes the need for teamwork and collaboration, the thing that many companies adopting DevOps struggle to emphasize.

Steve Jones

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