Kill the Opponent

In his evaluation of Musashi's The Book of Five Rings, Cockburn asks the question, "Who or what is the opponent in software development?" I have to admit that my initial reaction to that question was to think of the higher levels of management and beauracratic bean counters I have worked with in some organizations. It seems to me that at times they are the only ones standing between the development team and success. But this is Cockburn's observation:

The "opponent" is the problem you are trying to solve, the
obstacles to delivering the system. "Killing the opponent" is solving the
problem, delivering the system.

When I considered this it completed the game metaphor. I discussed this idea with members of my team and we had the following thoughts:

To the extent we create a solution that is well designed, modular, extensible, and elegant, we win the game, set and match. A solution that lacks some of these attributes may provide a momentary victory, but it may breed even greater problems (more opponents), and therefore doesn't really win the game.


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