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Dijkstra on Software Quality

"The vision is that, well before the end of the seventies have run to completion, we shall be able to design and implement the kind of systems that are now straining our programming ability at the expense of only a few percent in man-years of what they cost us now, and that besides that, these systems will be virtually free of bugs. These two improvements go hand in hand. In the latter respect software seems to be different from many other products, where as a rule a higher quality implies a higher price. Those who want really reliable software will discover that they must find means of avoiding the majority of bugs to start with, and as a result the programming process will become cheaper. If you want more effective programmers, you will discover that they should not waste their time debugging - they should not introduce the bugs to start with. In other words, both goals point to the same change."

Edsger W. Dijkstra in his 1972 Turing Award Lecture, "The Humble Programmer" (Communications of the ACM, October 1972, Volume 15, Number 10, p. 859-866).

Not only does Dijsktra name the concept of speed through quality, but he also touches a lot of other issues that are still relevant today as part of the agile/lean software development agenda. Highly recommended reading!

 

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About Martin Jul

Building better software faster is Martin's mission. He is a partner in Ative, and helps development teams implement lean/agile software development and improve their craftmanship teaching hands-on development practises such as iterative design and test-first. He is known to be a hardliner on quality and likes to get things done-done.
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