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The GeekWithin

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Professionals Wanted

Recently I read an article on Reg Developer that I completely agree with.

David Putman starts out by describing a process I have used many times: a Kanban system. This is where you break your project down in to small segments, write it on index cards, and post on a wall. As developers work through the project they take the index cards and move them from a waiting section to an in progress section, and finally to a finished section. This not only provides you an "at a glance" project update, but it also ensures you have not missed anything.

Mr. Putman's issue is in getting developers to break the project down and use the system. His experience is that developers rebel and cry "but I'm a professional" and state they do not need to be "micro" managed. He then exposes the unsavory side of software development: no one knows or is willing to commit to a specified timeline, unless of course it provides twice the amount of time it may need. I have seen this as both a customer and a consultant. It is why the cost of custom development is so expensive.

An arguement Mr. Putman puts forth in the article is that other professions are required to provide time and cost estimates up front, so why not those who are completing a development project? I must admit, this is an area that is not given any thought and one that developers would benefit some training in.


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