Spec Writing and Decision Making

Another update on the Joel On Software book reading.

Every time I pick the book up I feel like Joel is watching my career and commenting on things either I am doing, my colleagues are doing or my company is doing or did do. The reading is going slowly because of work and school but I am finding small segments of time to read. The chapters I read tonight dealt with writing specs and the one thing that really stood out was Joel’s tip on not creating a specification template. I have found this true when writing specs, I simply can not write to a template. I write much better specs when I can just go with the flow. When I get the template in front of me it immediately puts my mind in a panic state and I spend more time thinking about what goes where versus what I want to communicate. However, the other side of me has seen some terrible specs and some type of guideline is warranted. Bob’s company would have a guideline stating you should cover these categories where applicable, and thats it! That would be my template.

The second part was about decision making. A quote he used in his book was “Decisions in 10 minutes or less, or the next one is free“, CLASSIC! That was a quote from Brian Valentine, the lead developer of Windows 2000. Which I might add was my so far all time favorite operating system. I think we understand 10 minutes is a stretch for really complicated areas but it makes a great point and I think larger companies need to trust individual decisions and many times go with it (why do we get paid so much if we can’t make a decision?). I have seen far too often decisions take months because of politics, favoritism or any other reason. The point here is, MAKE A DECISION!

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