Embrace Change Requests

Sometimes I hate it when I keep receiving new requests for any of the systems I introduced into our organization. Today was such a day, again. Some people want more information in the burn charts, some want changes to the new project life cycle, others want new automatic processes in our time registration tool, and still others want extra columns added to some project reports. It can sometimes drive me crazy, and it makes me feel I never get things right.

Fortunately, I learned that this view is incorrect! In Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering Robert L. Glass wrote:

"Better software engineering development leads to more maintenance, not less." (Fact 45 on page 124)

He argues that good systems invite users to ask for more. (And I firmly believe this applies to good quality improvement initiatives too!) Maintenance is a solution, not a problem. Users want good systems to become killer applications. Users want bad systems to go away and perish to oblivion. In that, they are like children. If you give them something they like, they will start pestering you for more of the same thing. (Well, alright. This particular analogy is my own interpretation. Sorry about that.)

"Embrace change" is what the agile development wave has been telling us for years. So, with a smile and a deep sigh I welcome all the changes that people are firing at me, assuming that these change requests are telling me that our systems are actually quite ok. But "too much of anything is no good for you, babe", as Barry White once sang to us. I hope he wasn't right. Because change might end up embracing me and choke me to death…

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