Maybe Processes Arent That Bad

Originally from (the now-defunct) "ProcessIsaPoorSubstituteForAttentionToDetail":

Certainly, process is not a SilverBullet. But getting people to pay attention to detail often needs some process to assist that [...] What process provides is a definition of the important details. --PeteHardie

Here's another example of "a good and appropriate" process: Airplane pilots go through a checklist before taking off. This helps them make sure they've done everything exactly as planned; it improves safety --JeffGrigg

A minimal process driven by feedback -- by noticing what works and what doesn't -- is attention to detail. A cookbook process without feedback is not.

I'm happy to report that since adopting XP for myself, I estimate that my defect (bug) rate has dropped by a factor or 5 or so. -- LaurentBossavit

Mandlebrot, in "The Fractal Geometry of Nature", provides multiple compelling examples of using "Process" as the ONLY reasonable alternative to "attention to detail". I think it's relevant here. [...] So, while I agree with you the ProcessIsaPoorSubstituteForAttentionToDetail in the specific context of bullshit rules imposed by unenlightened management, I think it's important that we not obscure this more fundamental -- and in my view, quite elegant and beautiful -- duality (in a mathematical sense) between "code" and "data" space. --TomStambaugh

I would suggest the opposite, that attention to detail is a poor substitute for process. Maybe my mind is just going, but I appreciate having processes to cover rote things and then just focus on the unique aspects of an effort. --WayneMack

As for attention to detail, this is not a natural human trait, or one that even the most retentive of us can accomplish fully. I'd suggest that nearly anything is a good substitute for attention to detail. --RonJeffries


Can anything make up for a haphazard attitude? If you've got a group of developers who just don't care, then you're not going to get good product out of the door. Fire them or, better yet, give them something to rekindle their enthusiasm. -- RobertWatkins


Just possibly, a passion for excellence should result in a conscious decision to adopt or conform to a process which is likely to bring about excellence; while a reticence to adopt or conform to such a process denotes indifference to excellence.

In this view, "attention to detail" is simply irrelevant. We will pay attention to details because we strive for excellence, but we will keep attention to detail in its proper place - as something which has its benefits, but which isn't sufficient to bring about excellence.

Processes shouldn't, indeed, be viewed as substitutes for a proper concern with quality. Rather, they should be viewed as one aspect of that concern.


Seems to me that paying "attention to detail" is an attribute of a good Programmer. Processes that are well defined and apply to the task at hand must be then enforced. --MattMcLaughlin


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