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Re: [agile-usability] Re: Today's article on UseIt.com

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  • William Pietri
    Hi, Owen. I think this is a topic where we ll never agree, but since you keep coming back to it, I wanted to try to explain why, in hopes that we can have new
    Message 1 of 76 , Jan 2, 2009
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      Hi, Owen.

      I think this is a topic where we'll never agree, but since you keep coming back to it, I wanted to try to explain why, in hopes that we can have new and different conversations in the future. Rather than what, at least to me, feels like the same one every six months or so.

      Owen Thomas wrote:
      True. Indeed, I prefer to be where the action is; in my head.

      In at least three ways, this is antithetical to my understanding of what professional software development is:
      • I make software with other developers. The code is our collective work, an expression of our continually evolving shared vision. The action is in our joint doing, and in our discussion.
      • I make software with other people. I work closely with a host of domain experts, including analysts, product managers, designers, sysadmins, and businesspeople of many stripes. The action is in our conversations, our planning, our collaborative investigations.
      • I make software for other people. In my professional life, the whole point is to provide value to others through software. I talk with them, listen to them, and most definitely study and observe them. The action is in their actions, their lived experience of my software.
      Sure, there are some projects where I am the sole designer, developer, and consumer of it services, and it's simple enough that everything lives in my head. But those are by definition not part of my profession.

      I believe that what's in my head is a fragmentary, partial, and distorted map of what the actual action is. At least for myself, I know of no better way to improve that and to make the most of what I have than to find the highest-bandwidth, fastest-feedback connections to as much of that action as possible. For now, that involves personal presence, and lots of it.


      I also
      find that surrounding myself with those things that I'm familiar with
      and help me to relax to keep me in my head; where I'm most comfortable
      and feel most personally productive.

      Just to be clear, I understand that you feel this way, and would like to work that way. I feel sympathy for you, as I also like the comforts of home, hate commuting, and am not entirely comfortable around people. I encourage you, as with everybody, to find ways to work that you enjoy and find satisfying.

      But at the same time, it's worth considering that in the same way you don't like being pushed to work in a way that you don't like, others may have a similar reaction to your desire for them to think and work differently.

      William

    • Desilets, Alain
      ... that ... one ... http://forums.construx.com/blogs/stevemcc/archive/2008/03/27/productivit y- ...
      Message 76 of 76 , Jan 9, 2009
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        > > There are other studies (I don't have the exact quote) that show
        that
        > > the difference between a top-notch developer and a run-of-the-mill
        one
        > > is a factor of 10 or so.
        >
        > The back up for that is here :-
        >
        http://forums.construx.com/blogs/stevemcc/archive/2008/03/27/productivit
        y-
        >
        variations-among-software-developers-and-teams-the-origin-of-quot-10x-qu
        ot.aspx

        Thx James. I always assumed that this was indeed supported by actual
        studies, but still had a small nagging doubt that it might be one of
        those urban legends that start with "studies show that ...." ;-). This
        is a good reference which eliminates that doubt.

        Alain
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