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Changing Software Development: Learning to Become Agile by Allan Kelly

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7.4. Routine Change in Software Development

Transactional change is where the actual production work gets done. Most of our efforts at transformational change are aimed at changing the routine of workers. So it seems reasonable to look more closely at the routine changes that occur during software development.

On the face of it, routine change isn't particularly interesting: after all, this is what we do every day. Figure 7.2 shows a stereotypical view of the daily work of a software developer. It isn't very interesting and we don't need to write books about this kind of routine.

But this very routine provides the raw material that we need to learn and improve. By looking at the action and practices we engage in each day, we can seek to improve our working day. Our very routines can be a major source of learning. The reality of our work is very different to how others might perceive it (Figure 7.2), and again these exceptions to the routine can be the source of learning.

Figure 7.2. A day in the life of a software developer.

There is some evidence that there's significantly less routine work involved in software development than there is in other types of work. A study by two Indian academics looked to see whether 'software work is routinized'. The study[] failed to find any support for the hypothesis that software development was a routine activity. It went on to conclude that ...

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