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We're not craftsmen and craftswomen Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, January 14, 2014 8:31 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item We're not craftsmen and craftswomen






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Post #1530935
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 3:38 AM


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Good points. The hardest balance I struggle with is the competition of my time between practicing existing skills to ensure I am not too rusty as well as moving with the latest developments (technical and procedural) against the need to pick up new skills. As the duties I perform are changing over time so are the skills and techniques I employ on a day to day basis.

Gaz

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Post #1530996
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:25 AM
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We do what we need to do at work. We get systems working just enough. We get by.

Everytime we do this, I'm going to hazard a guess that we also run up some technical debt.
Post #1531067
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:39 AM
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You want craftsmanship and professionalism? Talk to my boss and convince him. Or better yet talk to our clients and ask them how much they want to pay.

Not everyone works in a dream job that offers sabbaticals. Get out of the ivory tower and come down to the data sweat shops where 90% of us folks work.
Post #1531074
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:55 AM
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Unfortunately I don't think companies want craftsmen any more, but to just get by. My last years working as a DBA were frustrating due to just that. I had bug fixes and performance enhancements to poor code written, tested, and ready for QC verification that were never implemented due to timid so-called project managers who would not implement them. When I retired I deleted directories of code nobody wanted. All I had was the satisfaction that I COULD make things better even if not ALLOWED to do so
Post #1531085
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 7:01 AM
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Sorry Steve, but I disagree with you. I think it's a good thing that we are not craftspeople.
Doing just enough to complete a job
is NOT the sign of an amateur, it's the sign of a professional who knows how to make trade-offs among the competing resources and priorities.
Doing the bare minimum to be functional
provides us the opportunity to check in with the user community to see if we are developing what they want, not what we think they want. And to adjust for changes ("I know I said that's what I want when we started, but now that I see it, I want something different").

I feel that software developers aiming to be craftspeople is part of the problem of software development. It's one of the arguments I've heard from developers for not implementing or following standards ("Standards stifle my creativity"). It's possibly one of the reasons so many projects fail or are over-budget.

I do agree that we need to continue advancing ourselves, but I don't understand what that has to do with being a craftsperson or not.

Cheers,
Tom
Post #1531089
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 7:11 AM
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So if you are not aiming to be a craftsman, why continually improve? No point to it.
Post #1531092
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 7:41 AM


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You get pulled into so many different projects with so little time it impossible to 'craft' the perfect solution. As they say 'A jack of many trades, master of NONE."
Post #1531109
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 8:06 AM
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"Most importantly, we should the job that we would want someone to do for us."


Do?

I was debugging today's editorial and found this. Cheers.
Post #1531126
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 8:17 AM


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We're just not, we're not craftspeople, at least not most of us. We do what we need to do at work. We get systems working just enough. We get by.


I think this is a pretty broad brush. On some things, I do just enough to get it working. Those are one-offs, or situations where I've determined that the cost of a better solution is not worth the investment of more time.

However, and I don't think this is unusual, I also do a fair bit of craftsperson-type work on any given day. I especially do this when, for example, doing database design/modeling. Here I am making decisions that have long-reaching consequences. A small investment of time here, thinking of how data will be used, and how the data may change over time, pays big benefits. On the other hand, if I'm doing an ad hoc report, I don't spend a lot of time making it pretty.

Getting that balance of time invested versus quality of finished product is, IMO, one of the signs of a craftsperson. If I'm a cabinet maker, I don't worry about the grain pattern on the wood that I use for the back of a drawer. It's not worth it, no matter how good a craftsperson I am. To worry about it would be obsessive - not the mark of a person that cares about quality. However, the grain of the wood that goes into the top of a table, now that's fairly important. To not care about it, and spend some extra time getting it right, that would be just stupid.

Making tradeoffs in time versus quality in just the right places, that's what a craftsperson does.


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