Rediscovering the Obvious

…stumbling in the footsteps of greatness

How clothes are like software processes

without comments

I’ve recently been simmering on a process metaphor that likens a
given company’s software processes and practices to an individual’s
choice in clothing.  This isn’t really fully-conceived, but I want to
get it out there sometime soon, so I’ll push it out, and maybe edit it
over time. 

How clothes are like processes 

No person goes naked. If you try, you get arrested unless you’re in nudist camps (or you die of exposure).
No company goes without processes. If you try, you go out of business unless you’re in a research environment.

Sane people only wear heavy clothes and coats in the winter, and stick to light clothes in the summer.
Sane companies use heavy processes and standards when they have to, and stick to lighter processes when they don’t.

Effective people wear clothes appropriate to the current activity, instead of combat boots for sprinting.
Effective companies adapt their processes to the current work product,
instead of forcing document reviews on a lunch announcement.

Smart people wear suits when they’re applying for a job at a bank, and spend extra time cleaning lint and hair off the suit.
Smart companies demonstrate established, formal processes when applying
for a contract with the Navy (FDA, bank, etc), and spend extra time.

Crafty people wear casual, hippy clothes when they are selling goods at a commune.
Crafty companies are casual and laid back about software processes when proposing contracts with relaxed clients.

Happy people wear clothes that feel good on their bodies, clothes they enjoy putting on in the morning.
Happy companies use processes that feel good to work in, processes that give people the feeling of progress while implementing.

Sophisticated people wear designer clothes to convey a specific image to the viewer.
Sophisticated companies implement well-known processes to convey a specific image to the clients.

Perceptive people avoid the perception they’re wearing cheap clothes.
Perceptive companies avoid the perception they’re using unrecognized processes.

Oblivious people don’t know about fashion, and wear jeans and a t-shirt.
Oblivious companies don’t know about processes, and don’t follow any established processes.

Angry young men are aware of fashion rules, but intentionally flout the need for conformance, being marginalized by society in the process.
Angry young companies are aware of processes, but intentionally flout
the need for conformance, being marginalized by mainline businesses in
the process.


I’m not sure I like the phrase “relaxed clients”, but I don’t know what word better implies a client that doesn’t care for processes, and just wants results.

Written by erwilleke

April 24th, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply