when podcasts go bad

I've always wondered why proponents of behaviour driven development (or spec driven) are so focused on delivering their message to whoever will take heed.. they seem so enthralled in the education of others that it begged the question in my mind - does it really matter? Won't people find these practices of their own volition?

Then I came across the Stack Overflow podcast #38 - I listen to this podcast every week and enjoy the whimsical musings of two guys, one who knows about the business of software, the other who can write blog posts.

What did the podcast contain? A rant with such little fact or knowledge behind it as to be totally absurd:

"Last week I was listening to a podcast on Hanselminutes, with Robert Martin talking about the SOLID principles. ... when I was listening to them, they all sounded to me like extremely bureaucratic programming that came from the mind of somebody that has not written a lot of code, frankly"
WHAT?

"quality really doesn't matter that much, in the big scheme of things"
BZZZ. What about craftsmanship?

"people like Robert Martin and Kent Beck and so forth have gone off the deep end into architecture for architecture's sake".
Seriously?

I was shocked. I'm pretty new to TDD and Agile and absolutely revelling in the way it has opened my programming skills and firmly put me in the journeyman category and hopefully slowly creeping my way to master one day. I've also over the last few years been into design patterns, principles and practices... improving my craft with SOLID principles, and the excellent new features of the C# language. It's been a trip.

But to hear test driven development, the SOLID principles and leaders in the agile community trounced in such an uneducated way left me reeling - without exaggeration, I had to turn off the podcast as I couldn't take anymore at that point.

There have been a number of blog posts about the whole saga which I'll link to, so I won't cover the whole story, but to me, it wasn't just what was said... it was the sheer flippant and dismissive tone of the comments that got me.

The podcast
Bob Martin's response
Kent Beck's reply
Podcast 28 transcript that Joel put up in defence
Bob Martin's open letter
...and so it goes on...

This brings me back to behaviour driven design and as an example, Scott Bellware's recent podcast with Hanselman : The last word on TDD.
Here, he advocates ditching the "test" part of the TDD name - as practioners of TDD know, it's actually about "design" driven development using unit tests and Scott attempts to convert people to this way of thinking whilst challenging those who follow Microsofts lead and look only to them for guidance.
Again, why is he almost preaching? Does it really matter? People will surely pick up the practice in their own time, like any other?

Podcast #38 showed me the light - this is EXACTLY why Scott and others talk so passionately about their craft... they are striving to be heard over the morass of apathy to try and educate.
Everyone may not agree with the principles being shared, but at least informed decisions can be made on whether to adopt them or not without flippant or inarticulate dismissals.
I dread to think how much influence that podcast has over apprentice developers or those who might have tried TDD and learnt about the principles, but are now disuaded by the remarks made by Joel and Jeff.

It all makes sense. Scott - I always thought you were too aggressive and too vocal about lean, agile and behaviour driven development but I was wrong. Keep it up and let's all get vocal about what we believe in - people don't have to agree with us but they'll hopefully be educated accurately and make their minds up accordingly.



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