I debated a bit about writing a blog post about Obie?s idea for a Rails Maturity Model (RMM) but in the end decided to post my opinions and general thoughts. I didn?t want to come across as just a gripe about it but a little bit more level-headed.
Those readers not on the Rails Business list may not have seen the post can do so in the Rails Business Google Group. I was going to repost parts of the original post here but didn?t want to have something interpreted out of context. I interpreted the post as talking about certifications for Rails developers, which apparently is not how Obie meant to present the idea.
I was not the only one which took the original idea as a bit put off, Obie responded with Apology for a Rails Maturity Model and after some additional thought posted a video from the Hashrocket world headquarters – RMM Behind the Scenes.
Fabio Akita posted Rails (Im)maturity Model? as synonymous to CMMi. I have been involved with CMMi and it is a pile of corporate red tape which is exactly what we should be trying to avoid here with Rails.
So, who is RMM intended to help? This is the question that baffles me for the most part. See, the Rails community is a community of good developers who follow best-practice, test-driven development (TDD) methodologies and we have a reputation for delivering good, maintainable and scalable software. In my mind, I can only imagine that RMM will be a benefit to organizations like Obie?s company, Hashrocket. If they set the standard for which others strive to, who benefits? Hashrocket does and they will be the gold standard which everyone else will be compared to when a company is shopping for a Rails solution.
How does this benefit small shops like myself and they boatload of others out there? I don?t think it does. I may be wrong here but I can only see HashRocket putting itself up on a pedestal that looks down on everyone else. I have gotten to know Obie a bit and I don?t get this from his personality at all, so what am I missing?
What part of the way Rails shops do business is currently broken? I think the old adage ?If it isn’t broke, don?t fix it? applies here. Robert Dempsey posted some opinions and thoughts about having some standards. I agree 100% here, just like running any business where we take strides to be the best we can be by doing the right things for clients. In the end the client is the one who tells us we are doing right by them.
Not About Certification
All of the recent controversy about RMM in the past week has brought one idea that RMM is not, it?s not about certifications. Obie states this very clearly. So it is not about certification, per se, but if RMM is similar to CMMI then it is about certification or proving you are following standards.
I can only think about the days of striving to be a Microsoft Partner and having to run my business the way Microsoft said I should if I wanted their support and having to have a certain number of certified people on staff. After abiding by these ridiculous rules for so many years I finally got tired of the BS and handed in my MS badge. I can never once attribute having this certification/badge/label to getting a project, not even once. I can?t recall MS ever sending work my way because of it, not even once. So what was the point then? It was so MS could say I was doing what they thought was right in running my business. I dropped all things MS because I was tired of their attempts at telling me how to do things, charging for information that should be free ($2000 a year for Microsoft Developer Network access).
It is clear the word certification should not be used here but regardless of the word used I will be expected to live up to standards to be at the top of the Rails food chain. The original post says it is so:
?set guidelines for what the characteristics and measurements that set apart a successful and disciplined Rails shop apart from the unwashed masses. Rather than trying to certify individuals (too easy to game!) I think it would be useful to have a certification process for organizations that involved an actual extensive interview process and audit of code and practices, with associated scorecards and registration in some sort of official directory. Yes, you would have to pay handsomely to get this certification, and the result would not necessarily be what you
I obviously have more questions than I do answers here but I wanted to get others thinking about this and come to their own conclusions and hopefully educate me at the same time.
Obie promises to post a more detailed follow-up about his ideas. It will be a hard sell for me how ever it is presented but I will keep an open mind.