Skip to main content

Software Development Method acting

actor

I listened to the first part of .net rocks show 722 whilst out for my lunch. Dan North mentioned the excellent output of developers sitting with traders coding and pushing. To me this is one of the ultimate ways to achieve excellent software. I am a big fan of the idea of method acting as a software developer. I am pretty sure someone else has already coined the idea. 

Essentially I like the idea of sitting and working with the people I am going to write the software for. Working with them in their daily tasks as if I were a normal employee. It's how I started out coding. I worked in various jobs as an administrator, a construction estimator and many other roles. Initially with Excel and Access and then with VB.net and other tools I just wrote software that made my particular tasks and those of other people in the office easier. The code was outrageous but generally worked. When it didn't I could fix it easy enough, the person who had the problem told me there and then what was wrong and what they expected it to do. 

Sitting with people in this manner can help weedle out the features that the client doesn't even realise they need. I don't believe there is any greater method. Even asking them to do it front of you can cause a user to act as they think they should instead of how they actually work. Working with them builds up trust and a relationship that will help you all the way through the process. Think of the undercover boss idea.

There are problems associated with this obviously.. Your company loses a dev for a little time, and there is the question of paying for the developers time whilst this process is going on. For me the time saved afterwards in development and the strong understanding of the domain that will be gained pay for themselves.

Picture taken from http://www.inquisitr.com/164153/daniel-day-lewis-spotted-with-abe-lincoln-beard/

Comments

James Printer said…
The password is Burgers

Popular posts from this blog

An instantiated object should be "ok"

I've been QA'ing quite a bit of work recently and one common theme I've noticed across both Java and C# projects I have been looking at is that we occasionally open ourselves up unessacarily to Exceptions by the way objects are being created. My general rule of thumb (which I have seen mentioned in a Pluralsight video recently but also always re-iterate in various Robust Software talks I have done) is that you shouldn't be able to create an object and then call a method or access a property that then throws an exception. At worst, it should return null (I'm not going to moan about that now). I've created an example below. We have two Dojos, one is good and one is bad. The bad dojo looks very familiar though. It's a little class written in the style that seems often encouraged. In fact, many classes start life as something like this. Then as years go on, you and other colleagues add more features to the class and it's instantiation becomes a second

Accessing the UI Thread with Tasks in F#

I have a Windows Forms program written in F# that can deploy a code base to n number of sites at once (you select the sites you would like to deploy to and it goes off and completes a number of tasks (backing up current sites, various unpacking and moving of files etc... ). Once you start it, it begins it's merry journey and begins to update the UI with what has happened. At the moment this method of updating the UI is not pretty because the threads I am doing the work on can't update the UI so I perform some fiendery to make that happen (don't ask). I knew there was a better way using some newer .NET features but I just hadn't got round to having a fiddle yet. I have now found that if you use the built in Task class but break your code up in a nicer way and then chain the tasks together you can then pass the correct context into the task that you want to talk to the UI. Here's a little script to give you a feel for it. You can press the "start" butt

NESTA - Next Gen.

via nesta.org.uk Following on from an article on the BBC about Raspberry Pi, this next gen report has some interesting findings. The scariest stat which I picked out from the BBC website was "out of the 28,767 teachers who were awarded Qualified Teacher Status... in 2010, only three qualified in computing or computing science as their primary qualification" Having worked as a computer science teacher for a year in a school that was a specialist in Computing I can concur that the uptake in Comp Sci was woeful. 2 Students for A2... The other teachers backgrounds in Computer Science was also fairly woeful (most knowing a bit about Office but still a paltry amount even about that). I couldn't speak for my counterpart that I was covering however. I suspect they were fairly up on things. All in all what kills me is that Computer science is not a secondary level subject. Areas are often covered, a little in IT, a little in DT subjects (if kids choose Systems and Contr