Saturday, January 17, 2009

Good Thing Going

There are an unusually large number of gifted programmers currently available or becoming available to work on software development projects, particularly here in Toronto. It is a product of the times, as many good people often prefer to stay in more stable positions, allowing them to achieve a better work/life balance. However, once the economy disrupts that for enough companies -- of any size -- an opportunity quickly exists to collect together these loose resources and build the next generation of teams.

Software development, these days, is all about the group of people you can bring together. If they get in sync, and start humming as a unit, fabulous things get built. If disunity and frustration exist, then it's a slow slog through the mud.

Of course, even with the largest and most poorly functioning teams, you can still get stuff done, get stuff delivered, but the truth is that often that stuff is unlikely to be much more than just passable. Even the best idealists and coders cannot overcome a negative environment, it frequently has the ultimate say in success.

As the economy tosses and turns, it shakes out a wonderful collection of formally unavailable people. People which, if you could bring them together, set some lofty goals and then let them go at it, might possibly take their efforts to a new height, covering new ground as they go.

And certainly that is what our industry needs so critically these days. We need to look at old problems with new perspectives, we need to mine the past to build better things for the future, and we need to get back to the infrastructure and find ways to build things that are significantly more stable than what's currently available.

There is an overflowing list of things to get built. We've barely scratched the surface of software development, although we are somewhat limited by the weaknesses of our modern technolgoies. Still, I can think of all sorts of great things to build, some of which could be huge game changers if they ever managed to catch on. Modern software is prettier, but still crude in ways that are unnecessary, we have another opportunity to change that.

For the entrepreneurs out there, this is a golden time, as there is means, motive and opportunity to start building whole new teams to push the current boundaries and go to new heights. For the dreamers out there that want to change the world, it's even better, as this type of circumstance allows for really truly trying to get out of the box, not just more lip service.

That next level of technology is out there, just sitting and waiting for the right people willing to open up its cage and set it free. We just need to stop sweating the finances and start focusing on making real improvements. The industry is in serious need of a few new real visionaries. Once again we are dependent on finding a whole new set of people to open up new ground.