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Software Development Edge, The: Essays on Managing Successful Projects by Joe Marasco

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Chapter 18. Bad Analogies

Explaining software and software development by analogy can be a dangerous enterprise. The problem is that while certain aspects of the analogy hold, others are misleading or often just plain wrong. For example, no one would claim that building a piece of software in the early 2000s is anything like building a warship for the Swedish navy in the 1600s—yet we used that very comparison in the last chapter. The point is that there are valuable lessons to be learned, so long as we don’t take the analogy too far.

In a similar vein, we find many instances these days of scientific language used to “explain” common phenomena. Unfortunately, these usages are often metaphorically or analogically incorrect, devoid of meaning, or ...

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