Presented at Agile on the Beach (4th September 2014)
Nearly two and a half decades ago, Richard Gabriel proposed the idea of “Worse Is Better” to explain why some things that are designed to be pure and perfect are eclipsed by solutions that are seemingly compromised and imperfect. This is not simply the observation that things should be better but are not, or that flawed and ill-considered solutions are superior to those created with intention, but that many solutions that are narrow and incomplete work out better than the solutions conceived of as being comprehensive and complete.
Whether it is programming languages, operating systems or development practices, we find many examples of this in software development, some more provocative and surprising than others. In this talk we revisit the original premise and question, and learn that in the current Agile climate it is an approach that can still teach us something surprising and new about product development.