Thursday, July 21, 2011

1.0, 2.0, you go go go, 3.0, 4.0 is slow slow slow

Most seasoned programmers (aka coders, code writers, code monkeys, hackers, scripters, code jockeys, Skittle-munchers, Mountain-Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo-ers) have a preference regarding which stage of a software development project they like to be involved with.

1.0 is pretty exciting, but only when you have a vested interest in the project.  Either it’s your own vision, being loaded onto the catapult and prepared for launch, or it’s someone else’s vision that you find appealing.  Or it’s a tertiary attraction.  Maybe a chance to learn a new language, toolset or method to add to your growing arsenal of brain juice.  1.0 is also risky and therefore exciting, but only if you are an adrenaline freak.  Those that prefer comfort, predictability and safety don’t usually run to 1.0 projects.  They tend to quietly insert themselves into 3.0 or later.

2.0 is best suited for the stakeholders in the vision, OR those who sat on the sidelines during 1.0 with a frustrated angst that caused them lots of nail-biting and furrowed brows.  Either it’s an exciting chance to clean up a mess, or correct the trajectory of a powerful rocket, or it’s a deep breath moment to regroup and start over (hopefully not).  2.0 is appealing to the adrenaline junkies because there is still risk and opportunity to try new things.  But there’s the safety of having absorbed the experience of 1.0 and how it was received by the user community.  Where 1.0 is like a blind walk through a pitch-black room, 2.0 is like a brief moment of turning on the lights to get your bearings, before the lights are turned off again and you continue on.

3.0 is not as appealing to the risk-takers.  It’s more attractive to the risk-averse, but it’s also a magnet for the optimization freaks.  3.0 is a golden opportunity for making the critical third trajectory correction, as well as benefiting from additional time for feedback collected from 1.0 and 2.0 to polish up the UI and API hooks.  For the code-freaks, it’s where they crack their knuckles, stretch and crack joints and do some Zen Tai Chi moves, take a deep slow breath, and dive into deep refactoring nirvana.

Conclusion

If you prefer Monster, Rock Star, Red Bull or Four Loco, or better yet: Four Loco with powdered Ginseng tablets poured into a hot coffee and consumed with a bottle of 5 Hour Energy drink, 1.0 is probably your best bet.

If you prefer coffee, working weekends, after hours, at the bar, in the Starbucks, in Panera, in the park, with an average of 4-5 hours of sleep per night, then 2.0 might be more your cup of electrified tea.

If you prefer properly-brewed hot tea with a balanced high-organic diet rich in vegetables, fruits and soy proteins while listening to relaxing music in the comfort of your Prius and getting an average of 8.000 hours of sleep every night, then 3.0 might be for you.

If you enjoy Frank Sinatra, re-runs of Ozzie and Harriet, and watch PBS 24x7 while stirring your glass of Metamucil, you should feel very safe and comfortable working on a 4.0 or 5.0 project.  But like Nature itself tends to do: 5.0 easily falls prey to 1.0 replacements.  Nothing is certain in this world.

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