Tim Bray is one of the main people behind XML so he has some serious cred in the world of building and deploying systems. So it with interest (and some palpable butterflies) that a recent missive of his: “Doing it Wrong”.
I don’t know how much of what he says is relevant to what we at TrustTheVote are doing and how we are doing it, but it makes for interesting and highly relevant reading. I do know that many of his examples are very different from elections technology, in fundamental ways, and for many many reasons. So there’s no one-to-one correlation, but listen to what he says:
“Doing it wrong:Enterprise Systems, I mean. And not just a little bit, either. Orders of magnitude wrong. Billions and billions of dollars worth of wrong. Hang-our-heads-in-shame wrong. It’s time to stop the madness.” (from “Doing it Wrong” from Tim Bray)
“What I’m writing here is the single most important take-away from my Sun years, and it fits in a sentence: The community of developers whose work you see on the Web, who probably don’t know what ADO or UML or JPA even stand for, deploy better systems at less cost in less time at lower risk than we see in the Enterprise.” (from “Doing it Wrong” from Tim Bray)
“The Web These Days · It’s like this: The time between having an idea and its public launch is measured in days not months, weeks not years. Same for each subsequent release cycle. Teams are small. Progress is iterative. No oceans are boiled, no monster requirements documents written.” (from “Doing it Wrong” from Tim Bray)
“The point is that that kind of thing simply cannot be built if you start with large formal specifications and fixed-price contracts and change-control procedures and so on. So if your enterprise wants the sort of outcomes we’re seeing on the Web (and a lot more should), you’re going to have to adopt some of the cultures and technologies that got them built.” (from “Doing it Wrong” from Tim Bray)
All of these quotes are from “Doing it Wrong” from Tim Bray. I suggest reading it.