Planning enough time to do it

Most people like to find all options they have available to them, weigh the pros and cons of each one with the best possible result being the desired outcome. However, there is one variable of the outcome that is often neglected, the duration to reach the outcome. Instead of discussing the plan, if the first suggestion is reinforced with agreement by another automatically more often than not something some work will begin. It might not be the best choice but something is being made whilst a better idea is being decided upon. The something that is getting done if put forward by someone sufficiently clever will more than likely be relatively close to the best idea when it’s determined. Also it will most likely be able to get adapted to work before the completion of starting it from scratch in the present moment.

The development cycle for software is very similar, there is always the discussion of whether it would be quicker to adapt something that already exists, i.e. the time to learn its structure and behaviour versus the time to work out your own and build it. In smaller systems the first option is often the quickest and in larger systems it is easier to make your own.

This is the argument the committee in my head is having at the moment over making CMS, I wasn’t going to tell anyone about it but I typed most of it out anyway in a comment I was going to make at KCNB and I thought that I’d rather keep it for posterity here and drop a trackback to her.

Hazel, the owner of KCNB, is coding a game as a degree project, she’s a little perturbed about spending so much time planning and using the scrum development method. In a nutshell to adhere to its methodology you say what you are going to do and do it in the time allotted.

Accordingly you need to workout, usually in length what you can do before you do it which often means a lot of unproductive talk followed by anticipated achievements which can be very reassuring to the person looking at the bottom-line of missing a deadline.

The method I was primarily taught was the RUP which in a nutshell is making a broad plan incrementally more accurate until the problem becomes little manageable chunks which don’t necessarily need the attention of the starting team.

This means 4 people could do the planning but 20 could do the coding as their bit only requires them to know what goes in and what must come out. Whereas the scrum method is best suited to having those who start a project finishing it aswell as newbies brought in would take a long time to see what their doing in the grand scheme of things, this also means that the man-hours of work can not be distributed in the home stretch.

Working on my own I write the plan as I go, moulding and adapting it as I need, however working as part of a team that aren’t mind readers I find it best to create documents and drawings to show my intentions, and if someone has the same idea as me I immediately back them up to get going, not because I think I know best but because if 2 people have the same idea to solve the problem is can’t be that bad of an idea and its mostly likely simple “which is the ultimate sophistication” (Da Vinci).

Both planning frameworks have pros and cons but sometimes its best to make it up as you go along, its risky but experience and talent with a little luck can sometimes reach the finish line quicker even though they’ve actually done more work (coding) and less planning than another team that have done less coding but more planning. It’s all a balancing act between a time intensive plan making a beautiful and efficient system versus a slapped together quick’n’dirty one.

What I really learnt at University

Those that go to University do so to extend their knowledge in a particular field but inevitably also learn a lot in a variety of others. Depending on whether your course sustains your interest those life lessons might be more important than your diploma. I found out half way through my degree that it wasn’t for me, I persevered none-the-less and along with a feast of boring Comp Sci edu-ma-cation I learnt that following that I think are just as important:

  1. Speaking your mind is better than putting it in text.
  2. You learn a helluva more from accomplishing something difficult on your own than being taught how to do it.
    • It also takes longer.
  3. Aslong as your room is clean and tidy you don’t feel so bad about the rest of the house.
  4. Everyone is a small fish, most just don’t know the size the pond.
  5. Nothing stays free forever.
  6. They mock you for being prepared but they love it when it pays off.
  7. Girls are frequently cold.
  8. One girl is a good investment of your time; otherwise have caution.
  9. Grammar is your friend.
  10. Exceed expectations/achieve your best as often as possible.
  11. Appreciate what you’ve got, and keep it if you can.

Evil Ex-Housemate

So if you haven’t heard the situation already, last academic year I moved in with 4 other people. Long story short one of them ‘left’ the house and left a bunch of her stuff inside leaving it there for 6 months. During this time her rent was not paid so when the contract ended there was an outstanding £1200 that needed to be paid, £1000 was covered by eating all of our deposits and that left £50 to be paid each. We would have to get all of it back through small claims court which is more trouble than its worth.

And today just to bring this entire debockle into the foreground a letter jumps under my door from the letting agency saying that we owe another £400 between us in repairs and cleaning. I swear at all possible opportunities were I could help this girl I will make it my business to incline her to solve my problems (being out of pocket) before I solve hers.

She owes a collective £1300 plus bills. That will make my share to be around £400, that money could be spent already on my World Scout Jamboree fees which I only have 3 months left to pay in part of full.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold”

Klingon Proverb

If anyone has any ideas besides making sure she receives a summons to small claims court on how I can get what I’m owed then please jot your ideas down for me.

Moral of the story is, don’t get involved in a group contract with people you don’t know.