Platitudes

A platitude is a statement that holds no information, as it is so obviously and so universally true that stating the opposite cannot ever make sense.

Saying or writing platitudes is therefore considered pointless and almost rude, for a reason. A statement only means something if by stating it, one negates the at least remotely possible opposite statement. This opposition between true and false statements is the very essence of information. If this opposition disappears, one literally does not say anything.

And still, I must apologize to my readers, but I will commit to this infamous habit, and expose a number of platitudes. Or so I thought. Things so obvious that I just don’t see the point arguing about them. And still, people do. They sometimes act as if these things that should go without saying are just wrong. I am forced into stating platitudes, when I hear what is being said and written for the sake of making a cheap sales argument.

For instance, introducing a new tool in a company’s development environment makes it dependent. In a business, like the PACBASE migration one, where the game is all about getting rid of dependencies, one cannot at the same time claim that the resulting system is standard and require an additional tool to be used. Even if the tool is given away for free. Even if it is open source. Even if it comes with marshmallow and chocolate. It is an additional dependency, it increases the risk and the cost of ownership of the resulting system. And this is a platitude.

Quality matters. Well-structured code is easier and cheaper to maintain. It is not just a technicality. It is not a soft fact for academic circles only. It is not theory without effect on the real world. It impacts the bottom line, the total cost of ownership and more. Whether management is sensitive to the issue is another matter, but it does not alter the nature of the underlying facts. Quality does matter. Another platitude.

Do you want more? Testing is where such migration projects succeed or fail. The cost of testing dwarfs every other item on the final bill. Hence, the technical proposition should be about how to reduce the cost of testing. Still, reducing it by not doing anything is no solution. It is an “increasing quality by lowering expectations” kind of approach.

A PACBASE migration project succeeds if one can improve the system by a transformational process and keep the cost of testing under control. Sacrificing one for the other only provides the illusion of a sound management decision. It is in fact plainly idiotic.

Well, I guess that’s enough platitudes for today.

Have a great day!

About Darius Blasband

Darius Blasband, 48 years old, married, 3 children. He has a Master's Degree and a PhD in Computer Science from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Darius runs RainCode (http://www.raincode.com), which is a company specialized in compiler design and legacy modernization.
This entry was posted in Automation, Data dictionary, Redevelopment, Testing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *