Posts Tagged ‘committee’

Constrained Evolution

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

In general, I’m not a fan of committee “output“. However, I do appreciate the work of the C++ ISO committee. In “Evolving a language in and for the real world”, Bjarne Stroustrup articulates the constraints under which the C++ committee operates:

Bjarne goes on to describe how, if the committee operated with reckless disregard for the past, C++ would fade into obscurity (some would argue that it already has):

Personally, I like the fact that the evolution of C++ (slow as it is) is guided by a group of volunteers in a non-profit organization. Unlike for-profit Oracle, which controls Java through the veil of the “Java Community Process“, and for-profit Microsoft, which controls the .Net family of languages, I can be sure that the ISO C++ committee is working in the interest of the C++ user base. Language governance for the people, by the people. What a concept.


For a comical moment, imagine that the C++ programming language was monopolized by a fortune 500 corpricracy and renamed as CorpoC++. Here’s a list of possible SCOL titles that could be conjured up and bestowed on some lucky people in the CC++ business unit:

  • VP Of Exception Handling
  • VP of STL containers
  • VP of STL algorithms
  • VP of Static Polymorphism
  • VP of Overloading
  • VP of Classes, Structs, and Enums
  • VP of Primitive Types
  • VP of Dynamic Polymorphism
  • VP of Idioms
  • VP of Deprecated Features
  • VP of Backward C Compatibility
  • VP of Syntax
  • VP of Reserved Keywords
  • VP of Construction, Destruction, and Copy Operations
  • VP of Boost Feature Adoption

If you think “design by standards committee” is bad, what kind of monstrosity do you think this merry band of anti-collaborative thugs would hatch?

Categories: C++ Tags: , , ,

OMG! Design By Committee

November 5, 2010 4 comments

In Federico Biancuzzi’s terrific “Masterminds Of Programming“, Federico interviews the three Amigo co-creators of UML. In discussing the “advancement” of the UML after the Amigos freely donated their work to the OMG for further development, Jim Rumbaugh had this to say:

The OMG (Object Management Group) is a case study in how political meddling can damage any good idea. The first version of UML was simple enough, because people didn’t have time to add a lot of clutter. Its main fault was an inconsistent viewpoint—some things were pretty high-level and others were closely aligned to particular programming languages. That’s what the second version should have cleared up. Unfortunately, a lot of people who were jealous of our initial success got involved in the second version. – Jim Rumbaugh

LOL! Following up, Jim landed a second blow:

The OMG process allowed all kinds of special interests to stuff things into UML 2.0, and since the process is mainly based on consensus, it is almost impossible to kill bad ideas. So UML 2.0 became a bloated monstrosity, with far too much dubious content, and still no consistent viewpoint and no way to define one. – Jim Rumbaugh

Double LOL!

Another UML co-creator, Grady Booch, says essentially the same thing but without specifically mentioning the OMG cabal:

UML 2.0 to some degree, and I’ll say this a little bit harshly, suffered a bit of a second system effect in that there were great opportunities and special interest groups, if you will, clamoring for certain specific features which added to the bloat of UML 2.0. – Grady Booch

Triple LOL!

Mitchi Henning, a key player during the CORBA era, rants about the OMG in this controversial “The Rise And Fall Of CORBA” article. Mitchi enraged the corbaholic community by lambasting both CORBA and the dysfunctional OMG politburo that maintains it:

Over the span of a few years, CORBA moved from being a successful middleware that was hailed as the Internet’s next-generation e-commerce infrastructure to being an obscure niche technology that is all but forgotten. This rapid decline is surprising. How can a technology that was produced by the world’s largest software consortium fall from grace so quickly? Many of the reasons are technical: poor architecture, complex APIs, and lack of essential features all contributed to CORBA’s downfall. However, such technical shortcomings are a symptom rather than a cause. Ultimately, CORBA failed because its standardization process virtually guarantees poor technical quality. Seeing that other standards consortia use a process that is very similar, this does not bode well for the viability of other technologies produced in this fashion. – Mitchi Henning

Maybe the kings and queens of the OMG should add an exclamation point to the end of their acronym: OMG!

The reason the OMG! junta interests me is because I’ve been working hands-on with RTI‘s implementation of the OMG Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard to design and build the infrastructure for a distributed sensor data processing server that will be embedded in a safety-critical supersystem. At this point in time, since DDS was co-designed, tested, and fielded by two commercial companies and it wasn’t designed from scratch by a big OMG committee, I think it’s a terrific standard. Particularly, I think RTI’s version is spectacular relative to the other two implementations that I know about. I hope the OMG! doesn’t transform DDS into an abomination………


December 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Are any words needed to elaborate on the blasphemous message that I’m trying to convey in the dorky graphic below? If so, gimme a shout out.

Categories: management Tags: ,

Committee Performance Metrics

December 12, 2009 4 comments

A favorite and frequent activity undertaken by corpocrats everywhere is the formation of committees and special task forces to “aggressively” tackle and solve pressing org problems that are negatively affecting the performance of the corpocracy’s DICforce. The typical cycle of events is as follows:

  • 1) The committee of elites is formed to “help” the DICforce do their jobs better.
  • 2) After: a)  several months of meetings with half-assed attendance, b) infinite BS sessions where nothin’ of substance is produced or propagated downward, c) there’s no detectable performance improvement from those dwelling in the cellar, and d) gobs of money have been consumed, the committee sponsor (a.k.a. the money supplier) asks for measures of performance to judge whether his/her investment is paying off.
  • 3) The committee conjures up some BS “camouflage” metrics that feign problem solving prowess and progress (see the figure below for examples).
  • 4) The sponsor buys into the BS set of metrics and the resource drain continues.
  • 5) Go to step 2).

You’d think that a meaningful metric could be obtained by periodically polling the people that the elite committee is supposed to be helping – the DICforce. Do you think many committees, councils, task forces, centers of excellence, yada-yada-yada, do this? If not, why do you think that is the case?


March 17, 2009 Leave a comment

The figure below depicts a “bent” UML class diagram of two types of committees. For those who don’t know UML, I hope that the diagram is sort of self-explanatory.


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