Today, a classic for your reading pleasure: “Cargo Cult Software Engineering” by Steve McConnell.
Cargo cult software engineering is easy to identify. Cargo cult software engineers justify their practices by saying, “We’ve always done it this way in the past,” or “our company standards require us to do it this way” – even when those ways make no sense. They refuse to acknowledge the tradeoffs involved in either process-oriented or commitment-oriented development. Both have strengths and weaknesses. When presented with more effective, new practices, cargo cult software engineers prefer to stay in their wooden huts of familiar, comfortable and-not-necessarily-effective work habits. “Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is a sign of insanity,” the old saying goes. It’s also a sign of cargo cult software engineering.
Also worth reading:
Online versions of the essays in Joel Spolsky’s compilation “The Best Software Writing I”
> Everyone religiously adds it even though it does absolutely nothing.
Heh. Including this site.