Subconscious prototyping

By mOrPhie on Tuesday 21 September 2010 18:30 - Comments (3)
Categories: software engineering, techrelated, Views: 2.771

If your software development is slow and painful and productivity drops every day, consider this: Are you fixing the problems caused by development that was actually prototyping because you didn’t understand the problem you needed to solve just yet? If this is the case: start over and use your new found knowledge to create a better base and dodge the productivity problems you faced earlier.

What happens here is what I call “subconscious prototyping”. If you are faced with a project in which specs are vague and development is somewhat unstructured, you might find yourself developing software, while solving a problem at the same time. Those who are able of doing just that without problems are a very rare breed. Or, of course, the problem to solve is a very simple one.

Even better is to understand the problem and its solution before you start typing away. So, the lessons learned: 1) Nominate problems and concepts that are hard to understand for prototyping, detailed design and design reviews. 2) If you still get stuck, notice “subconscious prototyping” as soon as possible and consider re-planning before it’s too late.

This might sound obvious to you, but some projects need this reminder every now and then.

Volgende: Try something different 09-'10 Try something different
Volgende: The Software Quality Poem 09-'10 The Software Quality Poem


By Tweakers user YopY, Tuesday 21 September 2010 19:53

Even bettererer is to go to the guy that gave you the assignment (be it your boss or a customer) and complain that the assignment or part thereof is unclear and not accurately specified.

If you have a boss, of course. If it's you that gave yourself the assignment, rethink it first, take a step back and actually, gasp, write it out. Twice. Then have it read by a peer.

If the assignment is clear, productivity should follow soon after - to the point of boredom, even, as there's hardly anything left for you to think about.


By Tweakers user RoadRunner84, Wednesday 22 September 2010 22:00

No YopY, you shouldn't complain, you should ask directed questions whose answers will fill the gaps you need to fill. This is what a software programmer should do, if you do not do so, you're a codemonkey, not a programmer. :)

@blog: I recognise this situation, I've done some projects where I did have a working and solid result, but where I should take a fully different approach if I had the chance to start again. Unfortunately, we have deadlines, and those restrict our available time.

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