piclist 2009\01\31\035408a >
Thread: Positive experiences with software development
face BY : Vitaliy email (remove spam text)

"Gerhard Fiedler" wrote:
>> You pretty much evaded the question. Can you tell us about that one
>> time everything worked well, in as much detail as possible? :)
> No, I can't.

That's too bad. :(

> There isn't really much to tell. You make your experiences, and
> sometimes it goes better and other times it goes worse. And some of the
> better ones you think are really good. There isn't any magic [...]

I think after you've been doing something for a while, you start seeing
certain patterns, and identifying things that work, and others that don't.

I've been a part of two failed projects. One project failed because we
drowned it in documentation. The other one died mainly because we tried to
reinvent too many wheels, instead of using existing frameworks and

Projects that succeeded, in general had the following characteristics:

- We jumped to implementation early in the project: to prove a concept,
build a quick mockup or a prototype
- There was lots of communication between developers
- Only the bare minimum of documentation was created, most of it of the
"sketch on a napkin" type.
- Many iterations, based on the changing requirements
- Version control, which acts as a safety net, and encourages risk-taking

On more recent projects, I found the following helpful:

- Weekly meetings with involved parties
- Sketching out the design on a whiteboard. We have two big ones in the
conference room, and they're both used quite a lot. To save the notes, we
take a picture with a cheap digital camera, crop it, crank up
brightness/contrast, and print the result. The printout looks like
handwritten notes (fooled several people already).
- Refactoring is the way to keep code maintainable, and is usually what I
resort to when I dig myself into a hole
- Object Oriented design, which is even possible in C
- Writing code in the most straightforward way, even at the expense of
performance/code size when necessary

Oh yeah, and of course great books on project management, software
development, writing good code, and design patterns where a lot of useful
ideas originally came from.

> Whoever thinks that this is so bad should probably look for a different
> line of work. I don't have the impression that it's worse than in any
> other area.

I don't think it's all that bad, but I do think there is much room for
improvement. I would love to hear what tools/techniques/practices other
people find useful in their work.


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