Douglas Adams, timeless writer, authored a book I titled “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.” In it, a private detective named Dirk investigates mysteries beyond the understanding of people who fail to recognize what he calls the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things.” By widening his focus to beyond only what appears to be connected to the case, he is able to solve the mysteries (and squeeze a few etra pounds out of his clients’ wallets). If you’re in the business of software, you can take whatever approach you want. Remember that your approach defines you as a professional.
I approach software development as a holistic way to solve problems. After all, software is written to be used; it solves a problem the user has. You need to keep that in mind when you’re writing it. How will it be used? By whom? Where? And so on.
I was chatting with my friend Lauren this morning about the stupidity of those myopic security auditors UNB employs to tell them what their password policies should be. The issue is that by making passwords hard for users to remember, users will write them down on a post-it or copy them into a word document, defeating your security system more than a password like “ davethecat” might.
Or maybe, like Dirk, they’re only justifying their services. After all, if your security audit comes back and it says “You’re secure! Have a nice day!”, you’ll think you could get by without security auditors at all, which just won’t do. Maybe I’m not giving auditors enough credit; maybe they’re looking at their job holistically, too.