Enrich, Simplify

The Gaping Void cartoons are often really spot on, and here’s one of my favourites.

Enrich, Simplify (c) Hugh MacLeod

It neatly sums up something I’ve struggled with in my life developing software products over the past 10+ years. Programmers will prefer to continue building software (development) rather than slowing down and seeing how people use that software in the real world (support). So you often see a tendency to continue adding new features one on top of the other. Something that used to be good once gradually becomes more complex and brittle over time.

Where I am now I try to develop products along the lines in the Hugh cartoon. Deliver software in small chunks. Speed up and slow down delivery so that you have time to see how people use your latest code before you race off down the next avenue. Focus on the pieces that people are interested in. Spend time stripping stuff out as much as piling new stuff on. Depending on what the user base really uses. Something that is only really practical in the On Demand/SaaS/ASP/whatever world rather than the behind-the-firewall expensive-customised-software world.

Not a million miles away from the approach Mitch Free talks about in this interview with Jason Busch today (and what prompted this post).

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