Tangential comments about Software Development

Monday, September 12, 2011

Je suis un bricoleur

... the 'bricoleur' is still someone who works with his hands and uses devious means compared to those of a craftsman. The 'bricoleur' is adept at performing a large number of diverse tasks; but, unlike the engineer, he does not subordinate each of them to the availability of raw materials and tools conceived and procured for the purpose of the  project. His universe of instruments is closed and the rules of his game are always to make do with 'whatever is at hand' ... the engineer is always trying to make his way out of and go beyond the constraints imposed by a particular state of civilization while the 'bricoleur' by inclination or necessity always remains within them.
Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind, pp 16-19, quoted in Adhocism

The distinction is between appropriateness and urgency. The scientist is intent on using the tools and hypothesis appropriate to his job, whereas the bricoleur or adhocist is intent on undertaking his job immediately, with whatever resources are available.
Charles Jencks, Adhocism, p 17

I am a bricoleur. That explains my divergence from some colleagues who want me to embrace a new language, and from greater agile minds who want me to use mock objects. I can make do with what I've got. Note, however, that Jencks insists that the bricoleur and scientist are equally objective and deal equally rigorously with the facts. The distinction is not one of kind or quality.