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.

25 Random Things

It’s doing the rounds and I’ve finally given in; these circulars are silly but they’re also fun to review after a year or so, plus it helps you to get to know me a little better if you’ve merely popped by my blog rather than being an avid reader.


Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

  1. I used to be a pretty good amateur dancer.
  2. And I purposely did a worse job of hiding being a Scout than one as a child.
  3. I started dancing because it was better than sitting on the sidelines whilst my sister did it for 3 hours each Saturday.
  4. I eventually went to competitions and won enough trophies to fill 3 shoeboxes.
  5. I still do the odd bit of dance in Scout/Guide Gang Shows.
  6. Before I was in a Gang Show I was in a Theatre Group for a year.
  7. Funnily enough my Secondary school aptitude test listed my top 2 careers as: 1) Actor, 2) Naval Architect.
  8. I have never pursued acting as a career although the skills section of my resume would be quite broad.
  9. I’m not an Architect either, although I like to think the creativity of acting + precision of architecture = Graphic Design.
  10. Scouting is still a major influence in my Life.
  11. I got my first real taste of confidence in myself at 18, and I owe it to one person.
  12. Oneday I hope to thoroughly convey the scope of my gratitude.
  13. Whilst I am very grateful to my teachers I think I could’ve learnt more at School if I had been educated using a different teaching method.
  14. Despite this, most of my grades were ‘B’ or better but I got at least one of every letter E-A*.
  15. Quote: “Smart enough to act stupid”.
  16. I will not let my children go to Sixth form, they will go to College, and University will be optional.
  17. Despite having 2 gap years I didn’t have enough life experience to choose a degree that would led to a career I would enjoy.
  18. But if I hadn’t gone I wouldn’t know what I enjoy (Drawing/Design).
  19. I believe I have designer skills equal to a 2nd year design student, despite having having a job as one.
  20. I’m very critical of myself and don’t take praise well if I don’t believe it first.
  21. Hence my natural instinct is to undersell myself.
  22. My New Year’s Resolutions tend to be to spend the year exploring a different personality trait, if I like the result I try to make it stick, if I don’t, I shrug it off with something else the following year.
  23. Socially I’m a Switch, I can be the Leader of a group or a member.
  24. Likewise I can have two minds about something, and alternate views in an argument sometimes confusing the responder!
  25. This means that I sometimes take the opposite role for daft propositions which makes me look dopey but lets me explore the root of someone else’s conclusion which is great for familiarity and I find fun.

Whilst this list is 25 items long I’ve actually told you more than 25 pieces of random information about myself and where possible connected them (however obscurely) to the preceding one. Don’t forget to ping back!

Work has begun, so lets party!


Liberty X at the World Scout Jamboree

Started off with some rather appalling breakfast, most of the usual 5 hot options where gone leaving me with Tomato, Sausage and Hash Brown! Not impressed proceeded quickly to the lunch queue to pick up some extra fruit to supplement my cooked breakfast alas, nought but water and muffins left. Not a good start to the day!

I managed to get a little work done during my 11-7 shift, it was slow going with having to pop into the newspaper layout cubical to resize images and battle grammatical inconsistencies.

After 3 long days of hearing how when Simon arrives he’ll solve all problems, including World peace I thought his arrival would equate the second coming, alas Dave and I had to cycle to Gate 1 to help him carry his stuff. Enroute whilst balancing Simon’s duffel bag on the handlebars Merry and Becky saw me and came charging after me. Simon and Dave walked on a bit, probably for the best considering how hyper they seemed to see me. It’s nice to be charged at randomly by girls demanding a hug!

Had dinner(s) with Dave and Simon after I caught up with them, then handed over my bike keys as I didn’t need to go back to Marcomms till the morning.

After dinner managed to bump into Vix, Richard and Simon under the IST bar tent, Vix was headed out for a wander to the stage to see her friends and then to the UK Contingent Party which none of the UK IST were invited to! Which this in mind I tagged along hoping that we’d bumped into Mary enroute or find Colin hanging on the outskirts.

In an act of kismet we bumped into Mark, Emma and Amy which where hovering over the South Tropical Hub entrance. We snuck in from the West with just enough time before getting chucked out (for being adults at a party for the UK young people) to see Peter Duncan (Chief Scout), Liz Burney (Chief Guide), Liberty X, Lumar and Anna Foye all on stage. The party was amazing, everyone from the UK was here as the UK Contingent arrived a day before all the other countries Contingents so we could welcome them, to get things going we were hosting a party, woot!