For a while I had a topic in my backlog that I titled “Why I don’t like complaining about tools” - in which I wanted to elaborate, well actually rant, on why I dislike how often people complain about tools instead of fixing the real cause. I pondered about it for a while and realised: the post should not be ranting about people complaining about tools but instead outline why I think, people complain about tools.

The formulae “People over processes over tools” is probably familiar. Basically without a fitting set of people most processes are bound to fail and without the foundation the tools will not do much good. This shall not imply that good tools are not important.

If I look at the system I’m part of it (the modern buzzword would probably “the bubble”), it is mostly made out of engineers - so to no surprise tools and the “proper tool for the job”-mentality make up a fair share of the mindset.

If I visualise the “Tools < Processes < People” paradigm, it could be like this:

[Tools - Processes - People Pyramid]

People are the foundation on which the processed and then the tools build upon. I made a small experiment and applied what I call the iceberg phenomaen to this:

[Tools - Processes - People iceberg]

Surprise - the most prominent and visible part are the tools. No wonder we’re inclined to constantly tweak the tools, complain about the tools, look for new tools without ever even considering looking beyond that.

Another thought that I’d like to throw in:

[Tools - Processes - People controversial]

The further we go down the pyramid, the more controversial it becomes. After all we’re engineers - arguing about the perfect tool is easy for us. Yes, it can be very controversial (github vs. gitlab), but it sticks to technicality. Processes affect our work environment more and are harder to grasp than a tool - once we enter the area where we talk people stuff: well, we all know how are hard it can be to look at one selfs and see room for improvement there.