Galloping Girdy was the first bridge over The Tacoma Narrows in Washington State, built in the 1940. It was the third largest suspension bridge in the world. It was only the "...first bridge over..." because it tragically collapsed from massive vibrations created by a freak wind, only four months after it was built. It's quite an interesting bit of history and never ceases to remind me of the importance of good engineering.
Powerful vibrations or their 'resonance' provides a good metaphor for addressing issues resulting from the developing trend in software development to outsource. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory defines resonance as "the state of a system in which an abnormally large vibration is produced in response to an external stimulus, occurring when the frequency of the stimulus is the same, or nearly the same, as the natural vibration frequency of the system." For my purposes, resonance can be restated as "a state of existence in which the maximum amount of useful knowledge is transferred from one person to another because they are 'in sync', producing the highest potential for efficiency in an organization." Even more simply, resonance is just good communication.
With software jobs going overseas and the punishing market conditions of the post-bubble, commercial software professionals are challenged to deal with an increasingly dispersed development geography while also continuing to maintain or improve the pace of innovation. None of the predominant software development processes ('heavy', 'agile', whatever) is perfectly equipped to handle the load. In part two, I'll talk about the two most popular processes, focusing on their benefits and drawbacks as they relate to resonant practices. In part three, I'll conclude with a short description of how these processes might be tweaked to get closer to resonance.