Thursday, 12 December 2013

Code Complete

Browsing over my bookcase the other day, in search of books that could be replaced with a Kindle version to free up much needed physical space I came across my old copy of Code Complete.

I've been flicking through it with more than idle curiosity since I've recently been playing around in Python before taking the plunge and buying a Raspberry Pi to support a domestic dark budget project.
This is the book I wish I'd had at the start of my IT career when I constantly felt I was reinventing the wheel. It offers the sort of guidance that is useful in the real world. Clearly the content is driven by the sorts of things people did  back then, such as  "debugging by superstition". Obviously no one would fall in to that trap these days. 

The more I reread the book the more I remembered embarrassing coding errors from my past, but also how valuable those experiences have in shaping my current world view. It is vital in the ITSM world that we promote and value the service desk, but it is also incumbent on us  to remember that the rest of IT is also important, and has their own best practice, their own cultural values, and their own ways of messing things up.

It also reminded me that in our headlong rush to embrace new frameworks we too often forget that  IT is not a new industry and surprisingly few of the issues and challenges we face are genuinely novel, or require completely new ways of working. More often than we admit our "new" ways of working are anything but new. Instead they are either the re-invention of preexisting good practice or the repetition of an approach that didn't work the last time somebody tried it and probably won't work this time around.

This was brought home to me during the recent twitter chat on the #ITSMbig4 driven by @itSMFUK. One of the key topics identified  is "Back to Basics - revisiting the basics for today's rapidly changing, multi-service provider IT environments" 

The twitter chat that followed the announcement of this topic was quite interesting. There is a recognition that this isn't about repeating the material that belongs on ITIL 101 training courses. Rather it is about reminding people of why we do ITSM,  about helping people do the basics well, which they know they struggle with, and not focusing on esoteric aspects of ITSM when users still can't work on their first day in the job because their IT access hasn't been enabled.

I look forward to seeing where this goes over the next year.

Meanwhile for those still wondering about the relevance of a ten year old book on coding best practice I'll point you in the direction of the author's more recent book on Rapid Development which is now taking up much deserved space on my Kindle.

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