Enough about process - what we need are heroes

Enough about process - what we need are heroes
James Bach, IEEE Software, Mar 95, pp96-98

Healthy heroism — taking initiative to solve ambiguous problems while exercising appropriate stewardship and risk management.

Pathological heroism — heroism for its own sake, in which overcommitment and uncontrolled risk-taking are the norm.

Bach — software is a product of people, not some conceptualized process.

SEI — undisciplined projects succeed only through the heroic efforts of a dedicated team.

Process Model Peopleware Model Cowboy/bigMagic Model
Defined process is the ONLY basis for consistent success Defined process is only one element of success, and not the most important one Processes are an outright impediment
All heroism is pathological The only basis for any model's success is the "heroic efforts of a dedicated team" There are heroes and there are under-achievers

Before asking, "what is the process?" ask "who is the process?"

A project may be without a planned or ideal process and still be "using processes" in the sense that it is guided by internalized process prescriptions that are in turn guided by higher level process models embedded within experience, education, and insight.