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Archived entry | Matt Wilcox .net

Karova mantras

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?


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  1. Philip Roche posted 1hrs, 45min, 15sec after the entry and said:

    I have one I use quite alot in my place of work

    "Matt please stop singing"

  2. Matt Wilcox posted 2hrs, 28min, 42sec after the entry and said:

    Phil, that's not a mantra. That's a question.

    I thought you loved my slightly flat tones and stokie accent.
    smiley icon: cry

  3. Matt Wilcox posted 2hrs, 31min, 43sec after the entry and said:

    Actually, it's not even a question.

    Anyway, we have stopped singing the Kim Il Sung song. See, we care. smiley icon: wink

  4. Adam (your old iceland buddy) posted 4 days, 21hrs, 19mins after the entry and said:

    How du chap!
    long time no see! Just dropped by on the old web site. This seriously rocks!!! loving the 'Jump to' at the top of the page and the CSS hover over fade-ins (i tried imitating your code, but to no sucess!)

    How are you these days? Hows the job and Wales? Im working at Painsley now as an ICT Technician!

  5. James posted 16 days, 1hrs, 57mins after the entry and said:

    I like "DTSTTCPW" the best smiley icon: smile

  6. MWF posted 18 days, 22hrs, 14mins after the entry and said:

    I like those mantras a lot and sadly can't submit any of my own despite efforts to think of some.

    Oh hang on, I do have a big one.

    "Keep it organic" - Don't be afraid to change your mind when you've had time to think about a solution or gone down a path you no longer think will work well. If you think something can be done better another way then consider it and if it makes sense go with it.

  7. Matt Wilcox posted 19 days, 6hrs, 14mins after the entry and said:

    Oooh, nice one Chris.

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