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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Develop software the way you mow the lawn

My girlfriend picked up a lawnmower for free the other day. She had not had a lawn mower for the majority of the summer and had only been able to mow her lawn a couple times. The grass was sparse with areas of tall weeds. She was short on time, so she took her new mower and mowed a couple of circles in key locations where the tall weeds were growing. This got me to thinking. Isn't this what so many developers do when starting a project or even throughout a project? They write a little code here and there, and they attack one issue just enough to tame it some. They then jump to another spot to do a little work there. They jump from one thing to the next very quickly without completing any single task. This is common for new developers and I find it easy for myself to fall into this pattern. The red flag that went up in my head was there is no way that my girlfriend will be able to mow all the grass. She will miss places, and there will be grass left untouched. An observer walking down the street can quickly spot the missed patches and will think what a horrible mow job. The same goes for a software project. If starting a new software project or working on an existing project be careful not to fall into this type of pattern. That method of programming will intrinsically leave areas in the application lacking or buggy. The next time you are starting a project take a moment to remember how you would mow your grass. It may help your project to be more successful.

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