Engineers have been using antifragility in their designs for centuries, but the software industry has been reluctant to adopt these techniques. Antifragile software development is a method that is more flexible and adaptive than traditional software development. In order to accomplish this, you must alter the way you design and manage your development cycles. Because of the feedback and variety of potential outcomes, both positive and negative, antifragile software development is more flexible and adaptive.
June 15, 2022
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When we break something, it fails to function correctly. Instead of continuing to use the broken piece, we replace it with a functioning new version. This is referred to as resilient design and is a form of fail-safe engineering. It’s good to have fail-safe designs so that broken things can be fixed quickly and easily before they cause larger problems. But what if breaking something actually makes it stronger? That is the idea behind anti-fragile design. Unfortunately, most things in our world are fragile – even pandas! Things that are anti-fragile grow stronger from stressors such as challenges or difficulties. This blogpost will explore why this is important for your company and how you can adapt your organization’s approach to become more anti-fragile.
What Is Anti-Fragile Development?
The term “anti-fragile” was coined by Nassim Taleb in his book, “Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder”. He defines anti-fragility as “a property that makes a thing better, stronger, or more useful when it is subjected to stress and chaos.” In simple terms, being anti-fragile means that a thing profits and grows stronger as a result of being exposed to stress. So, whereas fragile things decrease in value when they are stressed, anti-fragile things increase in value. For example, when you exercise, your muscles are stressed. This may cause some pain and aching, but it also makes your muscles stronger. Anti-fragile software development is the process of embracing uncertainty and risk, and using these to make your software and organization stronger and more resilient to change.
How is Software Developed?
For centuries, engineers have applied the concept of fail-safe design in all areas of life, from buildings and bridges to computer software. By taking precautions, such as using the best materials and using redundancy and backups, engineers have created software and products that are reliable and safe. This approach, known as resilience design, is used in arenas such as health and finance with great success. But in some areas, including computer software, it has had mixed results. Engineering-led organizations are generally very resilient. However, they often focus on minimizing risk, which can result in what Taleb calls antifragility-resistant designs. For example, banking systems are usually designed with redundancy in case of a power outage or other issues. This makes the system very resilient, but it doesn’t make it antifragile.
Why Is Anti-Fragile Development Important?
Fragile systems break when they are stressed. Instead of recovering quickly, they break down completely so that they can’t function. Anti-fragile systems, on the other hand, grow stronger and more useful as they are stressed. They are able to absorb and act upon the information they receive and learn from mistakes. These systems are able to deal with uncertainty and change because they are able to incorporate a wide range of potential outcomes – both positive and negative. Each challenge gives the system more information, insights and the ability to adapt, adaptability and resilience.
How to Achieve Anti-Fragile Software Development?
If you want to develop anti-fragile software, you have to change the way that you design and manage your development cycles. Unfortunately, the current trends towards agile and DevOps only exacerbate the fragility of software ecosystems. These techniques, while great for streamlining existing organizations, are actually anti-fragile in name only. They are designed to deliver faster and with more predictability. However, they often result in long release cycles, bloated backlogs and an increase in scope creep. They also build in only one type of feedback – a failed release or feature. This means that there is no way to improve or adapt if the release fails, and no way to capitalize on the positive outcomes of a successful release.
Engineers have been applying antifragility in their designs for centuries. However, the software industry has been slow to adopt these techniques. Antifragile software development is a more flexible and adaptive approach to software development. It incorporates feedback and incorporates a wide range of potential outcomes – both positive and negative. In order to achieve it, you need to change the way that you design and manage your development cycles.