LimitationsOfGeneralAdvice

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As a writer and speaker on software development, I dish out a huge amount of general advice about our profession. Whether it's as specific as saying how a DecoratedCommand works, or as philosophical as how to think about your SoftwareDevelopmentAttitude, there's no end to the noise I make. Furthermore I'm only one of a large community of general advice givers: authors, analyst companies, journalists, there's more of it than anyone can read.

Despite the amount of general advice that gets uttered, there are significant limitations on its value.

So with all these limitations, it's worth asking if there's any value to general advice? I think general advice is valuable because it provides a starting point for particular decision making. General advice raises issues that you have to consider in your particular case, reducing the chances that something will be left out because you didn't think of it. To uncover as many of those issues as you can, it's necessary to seek out as much general advice as you can absorb.

But it is those underlying issues that matter far more than my conclusion, which is why I see my value as explaining the drivers for a decision rather than handing out a final decision to follow. I prefer it if a reader understands the principles that led me to a conclusion, but acted differently to my conclusion, over a reader that followed my conclusion without understanding those principles.

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