|Thursday, 20 May 2004|
Talk about the tradeoffs
Tell them what you'd like. Really. If you'd like the application to perform well and you don't care as much about maintenance then say so. If you know the application will be used for 30-40 years then tell them that you think maintainability is more important than everything else.
I've found that amongst most groups of nerds there is a surprisingly large number of ways in which the various attributes of code (and architectures, UI's, etc) are traded-off against each other. Some people will think that everything must be speed optimised. Others will spend forever ensuring that variable declarations are lined up in source files. While others will obsess about W3C standards compliance and usability.
If its your job to manage (or even better to lead) nerds then do everyone a favour and order the following attributes of their work from most important to least important for each project. This will help ensure that everyone pulls in the same direction, will flush out conflicts by allowing you and the team to discuss problems with reference to the list, and may well help to save the project.
The list of attributes I use (in no particular order) are:
There are many more attributes that can be identified and, yes, I know that these attributes aren't orthoginal. And yes, everything needs to be balanced.
Remember: tradeoffs will be made between attributes. This technique can help ensure that the tradeoffs you'd like are made.
3:39:46 PM comment  trackback 
If you find yourself standing mouth open, shocked, at the time/cost estimate given to you by your local nerd for something that you thought was simple then you are not alone. This, of course, leaves you feeling powerless and frustrated since you thought it would only be a day or so to export the wub into the thingy. After all, exporting the megaWub took only a few hours and was much bigger.
What can be done about this? If you are the estimate-asker then ask for a range of estimates:
Its important to listen very carefully to the caveats that the nerd is going to place on each of the options - they are important. The chances are that there is a quick option that is viable but it will have limitations and they might be bad enough that you will accept one of the longer estimates.
If you are a nerd who has been asked for something:
9:48:59 AM comment  trackback