Mark Needham

Thoughts on Software Development

Do the simple thing

without comments

One of the most unexpected things that I picked up while pairing with Ashok for a few days in August/September is his ability to pick the simplest solution when confronted with a problem.

On numerous occasions we’d be trying to do something and I’d end up on a yak shaving mission trying to get a complicated approach to work while he watched on with bemusement.

I thought I’d actually learnt this lesson from working with Ashok but on a couple of occasions over the last week I’ve caught myself doing the same thing again!

A couple of days ago I wanted to send a photo taken on my phone to someone but the photo was about 2MB in size, I couldn’t get the wireless network in the office to work and attempting to send it via 3G was totally failing.

I somehow found myself trying to debug the problem with the wireless network when Shodhan pointed out that I could just transfer the file via USB to my machine and then email it from there.

To add to my shame, earlier this evening I was trying to help my mum get a song from a CD onto the hard drive and somehow found myself trying to compile ffmeg so that I could convert an AIFF file into an MP3 on my Mac.

In actual fact all I needed to do was rip the CD using Windows Media Player which somehow had completely skipped by mind until Jen and YouTube led me to that solution at the same time.

In retrospect I can’t believe I actually believed that what I was doing was a good solution to the problem but some part of my brain clearly though it was!

Although both this examples are on the periphery of software development I think it’s very easy to fall into the same trap there – we want to use things that we’ve learned to come up with clever solutions but that cleverness isn’t always useful!

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Written by Mark Needham

October 21st, 2012 at 9:35 pm