Saturday, March 9, 2013

Can You Go With Less?

Some days ago my trousers got ripped. Since I have already decluttered my wardrobe almost to the minimum, I immediately thought: Oh, I have to buy a new one! I already planned where to buy that new jeans, what kind of jeans, was thinking about the color that new jeans should have, and so on. But then I stopped: Hey, just step back a little bit. You do still have one more pair of jeans. You actually have enough trousers. So do you really, really need that new pair of jeans? Could you without that replacement? Could you go with less?

No doubt, I wanted that pair of new jeans. I wanted to purchase something, I wanted to renew my wardrobe, I wanted something new and fancy and fashionable. Even it's just something as boring as jeans.

So I put my which on hold. First, I waited and watched, whether I could still find something to dress without buying new stuff. I gave that experiment some time to either work or fail: About one week should be sufficient. Long story short: It worked just fine. I just don't need it.

This approach also works in the development of web apps. Before rushing into thinking about new features, before starting to adding new functions to your web app, just ask yourself: Will the effort be worth it? Will this function or that feature really add value to my program? Will it be so much better?
Because, just as buying unneeded items, it's not finished after paying the price on the price tag: Clothes need washing, need some place to lay them down when they're not in use, which also costs money (rent, furniture). Software is just the same. The work is not finished after having built the feature: Every feature also must be cared for. Every feature must be debugged. And, the worst of all: every added feature adds over-linear more complexity. This slows down the addition of new, really important functions.

My credo, either in real life, or in software development: simpler is better.

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