Review : “METAPHOR, MYTH AND MIMICRY: THE BASES OF SOFTWARE ENGINEERING. By Antony Bryant”

The paper discusses the evolvement of software engineering from simple software development.The author Antony Bryant presents different metaphors, myths and points of view of some scholars.The development of software is always a complex and risky business in terms of cost, reliability and maintainability of the final product. Fortunately, software engineering is still a young and growing profession that sees innovations and improvements in best practices every year.The nature of software engineering discipline and its relationship to computer science, information systems and other areas of studys has always been a contentious issue, training, career development, funding, professionalism (particularly in term of visibility, certification and recognition) and to any certain knowledge makes it as a distinctive discipline according to authors views.

From early 1960 the term “software engineering” is a problematic itself. With the passage of time the real focus was a shift from software writing to software development process. From the start the real issues were always delivery on time, excess of budget and most of the time not meeting clients requirements. The dilemma is software developers want to mimic the engineers,and simply lay a claim for engineering status discipline but this does not fulfil commercial demands and consumer desires. One thing that surprised me most is the argument of Brooke that metaphor shift from writing software to building software and he asserts that the growing of software using incremental development on his project and the result was dramatic which i believed proved to be one of the metaphor to use incremental technique to build software now a days.Furthermore different metaphors for software engineering and the contradiction between old and new metaphors result of software ciris due to nature of software according to Brooke’s arguments. but according to Braynt there are some other factors which may result for software crisis like gathering correct requirements etc.

Braynt also mentioned that requirements phase which is one of the crucial phase in software development. All the requirement specification, definitions and validation should be concise, clear and complete. Braynt also describes two metaphors which are very important in requirements phase. One he called “Conduit metaphor” which a communication phase between stakeholders and thoughts, feelings and intuitions transferred between stakeholders.
The other is “tools-maker paradigm” proposed by Reddy which is more real approach where people do not have much information about each other, live in different places but share information with each other. Hence both these metaphors are highly significant for requirement phase as conduit metaphor requirements shows requirements should be captured correctly while tools-maker paradigm shows that iterative and collaborative inputs os required from all the participants.

In the nutshell I believed that miscommunication is a real issue for software crisis and Bryant suggested that there should be a collaborative environment where participants communicate each other easily and capture correct requirements effectively to develop better software. One more thing I would like to comment on author view is that if the requirements are not clearly communicated to developers it may result to software failure.