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Anatomy of Insanity?
by John D. Mitchell
September 4, 2004
Is the story of a bug in MS Word a sign of deeper dysfunction?


Earlier this year, Rick Schaut wrote about the history and process of finding a particularly annoying bug in MS Word in: Anatomy of a Software Bug. Now, it seems easy to pick on MS Word as being an example of "complicatification" and, well, it is. :-)

However, please read the article again and, if you would, think about how the software is a literal embodiment of the organization that created it. Sniff out all of the "code smells" explained in the article and chew on how the entire approach to "fixing" the various problems which cropped up only added to the complicatedness of the system.

Let me be so bold as to posit that there are two fundamental problems exhibited in this story (and, it goes without saying that most of us in this industry suffer from to one degree or another): addiction to complicatedness and a lack of will to deal with that addiction.

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About the Blogger

John D. Mitchell is the Chief Architect of Krugle -- a search engine for developers. Along with developing and rescuing distributed enterprise systems, John advises investors and executives on technology and high-tech companies. Over the past 15 years, he has been the CTO of ElasticMedia,, jGuru and the MageLang Institute. John co-authored "Making Sense of Java: A Guide for Managers and the Rest of Us." He was the founder and contributing editor of the "Tips & Tricks" column at JavaWorld. John writes extensively on complex systems, development processes, computer languages and protocols, parsing and translating, and technological business risk management.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2004 John D. Mitchell. All rights reserved.

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