07 October 2012

Cheap at Twice The Price

High normal form relational databases provide the minimum byte load, and guaranteed integrity. Why have these qualities been so clearly ignored over the years? One excuse has been that normal form is too slow on conventional hard drives and uni-processors. Now that we have high quality SSD and multi-processor/core/thread machines, the technical complaints should disappear.

But my experience says that there is still an uphill slog in view. Why? Coders will remain obstructionist, since they're in self-preservation mode. Another piece today provides yet more examination of how this happens. Were humans rational, this sort of behavior wouldn't be tolerated.
It's an unfortunate reality that efficiency often goes unrewarded in the workplace. I had that feeling a lot when I was a partner in a Washington law firm. Because of my expertise, I could often answer a client's questions quickly, saving both of us time. But because my firm billed by the hour, as most law firms do, my efficiency worked against me.
Sound familiar? An unexceptional relationalist can build rings around a hoard of coders, but doing so threatens not only the hoard, but the (bureaucratic) bosses of the hoard.
...a measurement system based on hours makes no sense for knowledge workers. Their contribution should be measured by the value they create through applying their ideas and skills.
But, still, the coders circle the wagons, and insist that the olde ways are better. The bureaucrats who, ostensibly, manage them are happier with the bloat: the bigger the budget the greater the importance. Progress is wonderful.

The solution, it seems to me, has always been clear: engage in fixed price contracts, whether internal or external.

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