At Karova we have a few mantras up on our whiteboards, to help us keep the productivity levels up. I thought I might share them:
- Get it right first time
It’s invariably quicker to get it right first time, even if it takes a while. Going back to fix something you didn’t do quite right first time will always take longer than taking the time to do it properly on the first attempt.
- Start it - finish it
If you start something, you finish it. It’ll take longer for someone else to figure out what you were doing and finish it themselves.
- Get changes in writing
Especially important in projects which don’t have a single point of contact. Don’t do things just because they were mentioned over the phone - best to get written confirmation - it can stop miss-understandings and hassle further down the line. Mis-understandings and hassle will always eat up more time than can be saved by not waiting for written changes.
- Think elegant solutions
First off, think solutions rather than reasons and excuses. Secondly, if you’re going to do something, do it right. Less of the hackery.
- Update often, then commit
CVS is there for a reason, so use it properly!
- Cross browser it
Applies to CSS especially, but also to other things. Remember to cross browser test against your list of supported browsers, no matter how small the change you made. Some browsers can trip up and die spectacularly over the most minor and non-sensical things.
- Test test test
Test mercilessly. Just because you expect it to work doesn’t mean it actually will. Do your damndest to break whatever it is you’re testing. Try thinking like a client, I’ve found they are especially good at subjecting your work to input and uses you never even thought of testing with your developer hat on.
- Be more decisive
Clients and co-workers like answers to be confident. No one likes wishy-washy statements and ambiguity. It lowers confidence and creates doubts.
- ‘Will’ not ’should’
Linked to the above. I often find myself saying things ’should’ work. The point is that if I’ve tested properly I will know for sure. Don’t use ’should’ as a verbal safety net.
‘You aren’t gonna need it’. The nice complicated idea you just had for extending that functionality? - unless the client said so, you’re not going to need it. Trust me.
‘Do the simplest thing that could possibly work’. You can make it sing and dance later, if it needs to.
Do you have any good work mantras?