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.

Job

With a little patience and luck I’ve managed to get a job as a Graphic Designer at a small Graphic Design and Printing business in Milton Keynes. I didn’t expect to get onto the first rung of my career ladder quickly, sure I enjoy designing on my computer but compared to Josh Rhode, Radim Malinic, Nicholas Ainley I really have a lot to learn.

During Primary school I surprised my teachers by keep my drawings proportions correct, I wasn’t particularly great with the colouring (who is at 6-7 years old?) but the shapes were accurate enough to warrant my own display board and a certificate. During Middle school I drew less and less, I could draw cartoons/comics as well as some of the kids but my real-life sketches were top notch if I say so myself. 😉 I seemed to stop drawing entirely in secondary school, I didn’t take art as a G.C.S.E. which stopped me doing the A-level.

Then it wasn’t for 3 years later when I joined the Student Union Magazine that I got back into creativity. I started with some very basic and crude page layout and progressed with the help of the inhouse designer Adrian and Kal, who would eventually takeover as Editor in Chief.

Since then I’ve had more and more things to do, mostly revolving work in Scouting circles like Go Jamboree, SSAGO and their Events. So really to get a job designing on what I consider to be a very limited portfolio I’m extremely pleased to have a job where I will surely learn from my colleagues what I’m doing wrong or what I can do better.

Monday

The second day without our Team Leader, all content that could go up went up by 2pm, so started on finishing the File and Directory view for the SSAGO Resources section. There are still a few bugs but I’ll tidy them up tomorrow if we finish as early again.

Having spent all this time listening to Dave and Simon battle with the server to keep their ad hoc CMS working and coding the resource viewer its got me thinking about using my new freetime post Jamboree to ‘make’ my own, it’ll have everything all my current sites have plus I’ll be able to easily refine it rather than having to learn everyone elses work first. Plus if its good enough I could offer to lend it to GGUK for their Jamboree in 2010 which if I managed to get the honour would be pretty awesome.

Anyway, thats a long term project such as the guy who wrote a novel on his mobile phone so don’t expect much on this for a while.

Left early for dinner, almost didn’t have anyone to sit with, not for being late but for being early! Luckily I managed to spy Beck and we had a pleasant conversation about sectioning of Girlguiding and Scouting and how Scouting chose to be all inclusive and GGUK do not. I wonder whether 12% of the people at the GGUK Jamboree will be Scouts? Thats the percentage of Guides in the UK Contingent to the World Scout Jamboree. Can’t really complain too much I’m in GGUK after all, Unit Leader, yay!

After dinner bumped into Jess, I’ve seen her alot around the Jamboree much more than Mary which is good I suppose because these days if Mary is around me to much I might just explode, that and Jess encourages the child in me which helps with the unwinding each evening.

Jess had with her Lucy, someone named after the Lucy in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

After a extremely long wait for the Badminton court, we managed to get a few games in before the pub quiz. Now I’ve been to a few pub quizes in my time and I’ve never had one as hard as this, name the “longest rivers in these continents”, “name the currency in these countries”, “what country hosted the Jamboree in which year?” the one we actually did best in was “name that flag” that was our only 100% round, although we scored bonus points for our tinfoil B-P hat. Our team was a bit of a mismatch, Jess, Lucy, me, some random guy called James, Andy (later), Amanda and 2 other people I don’t know by name, still! One was John, I think :S

After the Quiz Jess and I had a little rumble with our lightsabers and Lucy recorded it, what can I say? We were high on Irn-Bru!

Friday

If anyone has ever had to experience “split shifts” they’ll know how frustrating they can be, up at 7am work half an 8 hour shift then do the other half at the end of the day. Essentially giving you a very long lunch and a very long day. Today was such a day for me, 7 till 11 in the AM and then the same hours int he PM. This had the benefit of opening up the entire day to browse Hylands Park and the bus loads (literally) of activities going on.

Morning shift was a little lame as I still didn’t have any login details so until someone else arrived I could do nought but sit around reading. The time quickly flew by and I was soon touring the site. To give myself some purpose I decided to make it my mission to photograph at least once all of the different sub-camp entrances, first destination though is the Promise PM Radio Station for my Internationally broadcast (via Internet and 87.7 FM) interview about working on the ‘Build Weekend’ and Working on the IST so far. I didn’t freeze up until the end when I forgot which track they were going to play for me instead of Learn to Fly but they did have my backup choice of I’m a Believer by the Monkees.

Went back for the evening shift segment with the other contingents arriving the articles from the Reporting team went up a lot so it was important that our 40,000 night website visitors get something new to read.

Equality

Gloucestershire police force could face a “flood” of compensation claims after it admitted illegally rejecting white male job applicants.

By trying to enforce ethnic minority representation to professions are we not infact shifting the focus from the majority which should have the focus to the minority? A reverse racism if you will, removing ‘white’ people because a larger diversity is required, surely this isn’t democratic? A small number of people have a large say because they are a slight minority?. Why can’t it just be the best or most suitable person for the right job?

Surely for race to not be an issue in any way, shape or form it shouldn’t matter, no more of this “to ensure equal opportunities we would like you to answer the following questions on religion, race etc” if it really doesn’t matter then we shouldn’t have to keep statistics on it. Okay it might help in 100 years or give Guinness an easier job of working out things like who was the First woman space tourist but I would be happier with not knowing who was the first/last/next person to do anything and a person’s race not being mentioned and thus the best person for the job getting it.

It is unfortunate that somehow the idea to increase ethnic minorities in Gloucester Police was raised and that the encouragement to be equally representative wasn’t dismissed because of the fear of being labelled racist towards minorities, instead now we are not allocating representative of the majority which in this country is caucasian despite the growing influx of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.

Perhaps if there weren’t as many scandals with negative results negative actions wouldn’t cascade through procedure and result in similar events?

Full Original Article: Force may face ‘flood’ of claims

Who wants to be a web designer?

No-one applauds our successes and few witness our defeats, yet our efforts are loved and everyone is a critic. As a web designer there are some injustices I’m willing to take on the head, I spend weeks of man hours working for charity, use logos that limit the scope of creativity and conform to the idiotic ideas of whom I’m working for.

What I will not tolerate are personal insults or disrespect about a format that can change, looking at René Magritte’s “Son of Man” (right) for example, some see and appreciate the surrealism others are baffled how a picture of a man in a suit wearing a bowler hat with an apple in front of his face can be considered a masterpiece.

In either case that medium is fixed, love it or hate it now and you will probably still feel the same in 5 years. A website design can change everyday so why insult it today when it can look different in a weeks time?

Criticism is fine, if you don’t say what you dislike then it won’t change but taking out frustrations on a design as though they’ve been produced specifically to made your life difficult is preposterous. Ranting and raving at someone is just not professional.