October 4, 2012
Over the last year or so I’ve been writing single side slogans onto pieces of A4 every time I learnt a hard lesson or came across something which I should really remember. These have been bluetacked to the wall behind another team, so when I’m stuck and staring into space (or rather, at the wall) hopefully something will ring a bell and unblock whatever the current problem is. It’s a very specifically DIY method because it encourages briefness - if you can’t get it onto a single side of A4 then you don’t really understand the lessons and if a lesson is wrong then you can pull the sheet down and move on.
As the year has gone on people have asked me about them when they pop in. A couple have ended up being photographed and stuck on twitter, which made me think they might be worth sharing and so I’m going to try and post one a week here. I make no claims for them, they are things I think I should remember, and maybe they are of some use to others too.
The story: When my boss asked me if a piece of code was done I said yes. Later that night he merged the branch in and shipped it. The next day something in live was screwed and I had to scramble to fix it. Everybody was unhappy
The lesson: Done means “ok to ship to live customers”, not “All the main stuff is there and I need to bolt it together”, or “Yes but I’ve not tested it hard” or anything else. Done means it’s good to go, ready for the world.
Over the years I’ve worked with (and been) developers who are “nearly finished” for weeks at a time. The 80/20 rules comes into play and they are “just about done” because they’ve strapped together most of the solution. This is very frustrating for all invovled, they feel like they’re getting a tonne of unwarrented pressure to finish, their project manager or client doens’t understand “what’s taking so long” etc etc. Often this can lead to “Done but not really done” and everybody feels the pain.
Don’t gold plate, don’t panic if stuff does get broken, but be very clear about the state something really is when you’re asked “is it done yet?”comments powered by Disqus