About Software Engineering – from the Trenches

Software Engineering applies a holistic optimization to all the tasks, beyond coding and testing, involved in creating a software product

“Software Engineering – from the Trenches” chronicles what it takes to create a software product — in real life.

“Software Engineering – from the Trenches” is not only about “software development”; writing code is only one task – necessary, but not sufficient, to build a product. We will also discuss requirements, architecture, design, testing, release management, documentation, deployment, and support. One of the main themes in this blog is that Engineering is holistic and encompasses all these critical activities which, whether we like it or not, consume the time of each software engineer. One of our main goals is thus to approach product creation with a methodology that is optimized across all these activities. For example, while iterative development methodologies (XP and agile software development among them) are quite popular, we will advocate for, and justify, strong and detailed upfront design.

Before jumping into the fray of software methodology, our first series of blogs will focus on the roles of responsibilities of the different actors in Software Engineering: developers and testers of course, but also, product manager, release manager, consulting engineers, etc. Before examining team-level strategies, we need to first agree on everyone’s scope of responsibilities and mutual expectations. We each need to understand our, and each other’s,  job description before we crack open the playbook. Surprisingly enough, controversy has erupted whenever I have broached this topic with my team at each company where I have worked.

This blog is for you if … you are a software engineer, QA engineer, support engineer, product manager, release/project manager, software architect, lead,  director, VP, or CEO.  Anyone who is attempting to understand the mistery of software creation, anyone whose day job (and/or night job) involves software will benefit from this blog and will learn road-tested techniques to reduce stress, increase predictability and stimulate innovation.