Thursday, 10 January 2013

How to find the right balance in between functionality and technology

The fundamental goal of each software developer is to build and deliver the right software that satisfies their customers. A software developer that wants to succeed, must be a professional focusing on a positive outcome of the project. He needs to find the right balance between building the right software and building the software right.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else” – Sam Walton

Focus on result

We need to understand that our customers’ problems are our challenges. We need to make sure that we addresses our customer’s needs. More importantly, we need to be able to respond and adapt quickly to changing situations, “whether it’s a wave  or a design that breaks sooner than expected”. This is how it works and we need to get used to it. We need to change the way we treat our customers, because development has to be a partnership between the customer and the development team.
Not to lose focus, we always need to make a valuable judgment about what is really important. We shouldn’t make all the decisions about a project ourselves, just because we know the most about the application. Let customers decide, especially when it is critical to their business.

Code quality isn’t the highest aim

Realizing good code quality and using best practice coding techniques to build the software right are important components of a successful project. But we should not forget that the cleanest code and the best architecture are not sufficient to build a successful solution which will be accepted by the client.
Developers tend to apply the best practices and/or design patterns to their projects. However,  in many cases we do this without considering whether this is actually needed. By applying patterns and best practices we tend to forget why they were created and when we should apply them in the first place. As a result they become anti-patterns that ultimately produce more bad consequences than beneficial results and isn’t that what we usually try to avoid?

Simplicity before beloved complexity

Simplicity is the key. We tend to over complicate simple problems and build complex solutions where it’s not needed. Most programs work best when kept simple. And simplicity is not only about the code; it is also about the design and architecture. Following the “Keep it simple, Stupid!” principle, we will end up with more efficient and high quality software.
We are obsessed by the need to use the latest technology, just because it is new. We shouldn’t make design decisions based on our own technology excitement. We should think whether the technology or application framework really solves the problem. A blindly chosen solution may have a negative impact on the project. We need to realize this each time when we are tempted by the newest technology or an application framework.

Striving for excellence

One of the key concepts of a successful software developer is striving for excellence. Software developers have to continuously improve their development process, skills and knowledge. The successful software developer learns not only coding techniques or technology but he also learns how to understand the (changing) customer business’ needs. He gains the ability to make proper decisions and find the right balance between functionality and technology.
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