Monday, September 14, 2015

Priorities and getting things done

This morning I read an older but popular blog post on the duct tape programmer. It is colorful commentary that I've read it before and provides a good reminder on prioritization and getting things done.

There are, no doubt, occasions where you don't want the duct tape programming methodology used, for example when writing the software that keeps an airplane in the sky or a machine that keeps medicine flowing properly into your veins. But I don't work for a company doing those kinds of things. I'm part of a company that buys, sells and delivers building products. We're in an industry that is slow overall to use technology in order to gain competitive advantage and become more effective and profitable. So using "duct tape" here is actually pretty useful and necessary. To paraphrase Joe's post,

I'm not here to write code; I'm here to create value for this organization.

This mindset isn't about making a choice between value-added functionality wrapped in that lovely VB6 gray on the one hand (we have too many of those still in use, unfortunately), and useless but pleasant looking UIs on the other. The development tools and platforms today don't present that one-or-the-other choice. Conceiving, creating and putting into the hands of our business partners the tools that make a difference is paramount. And if it takes duct tape at times to help us do that, so be it.