I think part of the problem with CS educations today is the overuse of design patterns.

Okay, I know that probably irked a few people. But hear me out.

A “design pattern” really is really just a common solution to a problem, right? I mean, if you have a problem like “how should I handle percolating events up a hierarchy of potential listeners”, then Chain of responsibility is not a bad way to go.

And I think it’s reasonable to study different design patterns as solutions to different commonly encountered problems.

But when people start seeking a design pattern without understanding what the problem is, it’s putting the cart before the horse. It leads to what I’ve been calling “voodoo programming”, where you shake a stick hoping that the magic stick will magically resolve the problem. That sort of magic thinking inevitably leads to the lavaflow anti-pattern, where layers of misunderstood code is piled on top of older, misunderstood code–and ultimately leads to a bloated, slow system which is hard to maintain.

Couple with the other things that programmers do which are counterproductive, and the real question is not “why is it only 32% of projects complete on time and in budget, while 24% of all IT projects are canceled,” but “how the hell is that 32% number so high?”

Makes me wonder if, at the end of the day, a number of projects in the “completed on-time and in budget” bucket factored in the additional costs of “voodoo programming”, and the actual failure rate (that is, where the time to deliver is longer than optimal) is closer to 90%.

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