Posting about the time religion wrang my doorbell reminded me of this (true) anecdote.
There was a woman who always cooked ham for holiday feasts, and as part of the preparations, she always cut both ends off the ham before she put it in the oven. This was how her mother had taught her. She believed it helped to get the seasonings absorbed.
After many years, her children began to question the method. Mom, why do you cut off the ends? It makes the ham dry out.
Suddenly she realized she didn’t know why. Later that day when her mother arrived for dinner, she inquired, and the reply taught her much about unquestioned assumptions. Oh that’s right I forgot we used to do that. We had to cut the ends because the pan we had back then was too short for the ham to fit.
This has “software development” written all over it. Although unlike say, with Sharpie permanent markers, there’s no unpleasant aftertaste.
For some reason it depresses me to learn that software is developed like this.