Manifesto, management and money
The future of collaborative software development

This article looks at the defects in the current culture of collaborative software development and proposes some changes. There is an existing model, the performing arts, which clearly shows the way forward. The body of the paper develops the new model while the appendices are meat for practical developers.
Read full article here : PDF 183Kb

Some of the themes in this article have been developed into Treems which is the blueprint for how to organise remote electronic working for enterprises of all sorts. Offices and factories for the 21st century.
More here : Treems home page

Improvement needed

We all know that a revolution is happening in the way software is being developed. Places such as Sourceforge and projects such as Firefox and Open Office are signs of this. The results are great... ...when they're great, but most fizzle-out or fail to deliver results of sufficient quality.

Splitting the ideas from the development Nobody expects a good author to be a good publisher or actor so let's see if there is a way to decouple bright ideas from quality development. There is: A market in bright ideas ripe for development. I've called the bright idea part a 'Manifesto' and laid down a basic structure and simple first-chop assessment criteria for it. There are some unresolved issues about how to implement a market but first steps are fairly clear. But who would be buying?

The need for persistent teams Even if you've filled all the roles in your production, you can't go out and perform without study, rehearsals and lots of off-stage teamwork in the press office. The same applies to software development. Building an efficient team takes time so the first

project is going to be a bit ropey until people learn the details and fall into good ways of working together. This is an extremely good reason why teams shouldn't come together simply for a single project.

What can we learn from the performing arts? This model has been around for 500 years or so and deals with issue 1 : Scripts decouple ideas from developments; and issue 2 : Theatre companies exist outside of a single play; and issue 3 : getting paid which so far has been in the too-difficult file. Read the paper for the details, but the value of putting money into a thriving and varied software development culture is easy to see when looked at in the same way as the performing arts.

The future starts here

When put together these ideas will improve quality and quantity of delivered software. The development paradigm will move away from the one-man busker to a range of production companies with the full set of skills required, reputations and team objectives: Which will be worth paying for - One way or another. See the article for more details.
This is just as much applicable to commercial development, not-for-profit, and coop-in-hope as FOSS etc. See the appendices for useful practical bits for any team builder.
  1. Personally, I can do production but my heart's in bright ideas and working with developers to turn concepts into really useful tools. This site is all about making these ideas available.
  2. Something I'm particularly struck by is the parallel between amateur dramatic companies and possible software development groups. This should lead to a better sort of free software for people who like that sort of thing.
  1. There is a magic wand to make this happen quickly - Money for promotion and piloting.
  2. There are IP issues with Manifestos in an open marketplace and the marketplace needs subtle management to make it work effectively.

Contact Peter@Vulpeculox•net