One of the fathers of software development processes says the industry is too fashionable, needs to stop re-inventing the wheel, and focus on being more creative.

In a recent video interview with Builder AU, Ivar Jacobson said that in the past 50 years the process of building software has changed very little but that the industry is constantly being distracted by so-called silver bullet solutions to creating software.

“If you look at component-based development it doesn’t matter if you do it one way or another … what really concerns me is that the software industry is a fashion industry,” Jacobson said.

“We are as fashion orientated in our industry as clothing industries. We are changing fashion every five years. Go back five years ago it was Rational Unified Process (RUP). If you go just a few years ago extreme programming was very, very hot. Today you don’t hear about extreme programming. Today it is SCRUM, the new silver bullet. I have met one of the founders of SCRUM, Ken Schwaber, and he would never have that opinion.”

Jacobson, inventor of use cases in software development, and one of the three amigos (along with Grady Booch and James Rumbaugh) who created UML and later the Rational Unified Process said that companies have been searching for a silver bullet solution for 30 to 40 years and that they should reflect on what has already been achieved and add to it.

“Take what is good, compose it with something new, and don’t throw away the baby with the bath water,” Jacobson added.

If given a chance to set the new fashion trends in software development, Jacobson said he’d like to see software development shops stop re-inventing old methodologies, and to use practices that make sense for different projects and teams. Inside larger organisations this includes getting rid of the ivory tower of central processes and letting teams decide what practices they want to use and stick to it.

“It will take a little bit more time but we’ll get there.”

This was just a snippet of our chat with Ivar Jacobson. View more of the interview with this pioneer of the software development industry below.