Why do we hold on to our old ways of working?

Technology comes and goes. Why do we still use GitFlow, but not Windows Mobile? Why did we stop using 5.25" floppies, but never fully adopted static analysis?

Technology changes. And as technology changes, we’re constantly looking for new ways of working better. Both with the changing technology, and in response to the changing technology.

When email came around, it completely changed the way offices work, in both good and bad ways.

When social media sites came around, it changed things, too. Including email. Do you remember the dreaded email forwards from your second cousin, warning you not to open any email with the subject “Stinky Cheese”, or trying to brighten your day with cut and pasted, hackneyed Hallmark poetry? I don’t seem to get those any more. Now that dreaded cruft is found on Facebook and other social media sites.

So here’s my question…

Why are we so quick to change some habits, and technologies, but not others?

I know there’s no single, simple answer.

But it is interesting. Consider…

Flash and story points were both invented in the late 90s. Both have been proven ineffective. Yet many people continue to use one of them.

GitFlow and Windows Mobile were both born in 2010. For some horrendous reason, one of these still survives today.

In the late 1970s, we were introduced to the first 5.25" floppy disk, as well as the first code static analysis tool, lint. Well in this case, I know a lot of teams who don’t use either. And they probably should be using one of these.

Not all is lost, of course. Not all teams are still clinging to old crusty approaches to software delivery.

The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.
— William Gibson

Share this