Production-like feedback

Making Making – Decisions about creating things

Natali Vlatko
Making image via Shutterstock

Kent Beck wants to help programmers work towards more production-like feedback sooner, so he fashioned a manifesto for ‘Making Making’ – the process that developers engage in to create and code. Quicker, more accurate feedback is the ultimate goal.

Kent Beck, creator of Extreme Programming and one of the original 17 signatories of the Agile Manifesto, has penned a new manifesto on ‘Making Making’. The veteran programmer wants developers to ask themselves, before they begin programming, “How could I get really rapid feedback while I program?”

Beck acknowledges that while engineers, developers and programmers are responsible for creating a lot of things, they’re also the people who “make the making of stuff”. They’re not taught these skills per se, and he feels that a gap exists in the process of making that his manifesto could help address.

There is no one right way to make something, which means someone has to decide how to make it. Making making is the decision(s) about how to make something.

The kinds of decisions that are considered ‘making making’ include deciding how and when developers want feedback, or the order in which programs are written. With the methodology subject to limitations, he also acknowledges the fact that investing in making making can become addictive, “at which point the tools, frameworks, and automation created lose touch with the reality of making and become impediments to progress”. This kind of thinking is reminiscent of the comments that original Agile Manifesto authors Dave Thomas and Andrew Hunt have recently made about the current state of agile.

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The premise behind making making is feedback. Beck has listed a simple technique for how others should contribute time to the process: “invest in making making when it results in more frequent or more comprehensive feedback for your making decisions”.

Making Making Manifesto

In this example image of the feedback that developers receive, he shows how certain types of feedback are delivered quicker, whereas others, such as customer reports and monitoring, convey a broader response. “We make making when we become aware of where we already are on this chart, when we add or remove sources of feedback, when we make better use of the feedback we receive, and when we move a feedback source up and/or to the right”.

The trend towards more frequent and more comprehensive feedback is clear to Beck, who believes the natural limits to feedback are nowhere in sight – the only limit identified by Beck is human reaction time.

Beck has shared an example of making making via CoffeeScript, which can be seen below.

Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for (S&S Media Group).

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