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Jack Woehr

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Development Advice of your Grandmother

May 29, 2008

Assuming you read the pre-req (Development Advice of the Ages), here we switch from poetry to prose. Let's sort through some of the things grandmom used to tell us, genuine folk wisdom, and see how many of these things turn out to be the most important guiding principles of daily management

Haste Makes Waste - or - More Haste, Less Speed

There is an optimal period or rythm to a team as to a pendulum. It is calculated as the ratio of the tinier, faster gears to the the bigger, slower gears, be those gears processes or people. If you overdrive a pendulum, its oscillations become erratic. Guess what happens when you overdrive a team?

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

There is a reason your developers are telling you that X has to be swapped out in favor of Y, and that the work is pressing, and please, it's better if we do it now, at least, it will be easier and faster that way.

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

Here's an idea for keeping costs down: don't spend money.

The reason most startups fail is that they spend too much money. The reason America is in economic trouble is America and Americans spend too much money.

Don't buy it till you need it. Keep your thought experiments as thoughts, not random purchases. Where are they going to bury all the toys your business will someday throw out?

You Can't Cheat an Honest Man

My boss asked why the customer was unhappy. "Because we lied to them and cheated them," I answered. "Furthermore, the customer liason is quite technically astute and understands how, why, and when we did it and has documented it for me."

"Look at these demands they're making!" he said, smiting with the left hand the list held in his right hand.

"All perfectly reasonable," I replied.

"Well, can you smooth them over?" he asked sheepishly.

"I already did. The liason said, 'Heads should roll at your organization' and I asked him when was the last time he'd heard from our VP."

Idle Hands are the Devil's Playground

Development directors should always have a list of pet projects. Mine was porting our app to OpenBSD . If anyone was caught goofing off they were given an afternoon's assignment porting to OpenBSD. Then there was the virtual machine reorganization project ...

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