The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection

There’s currently a sum total of exactly 2 entries on my list of podcasts that I listen to religiously. Those are Risky Business, and Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project. The latter is very much unrelated to software development, however it’s often interesting for other (often unexpected) reasons.

The latest episode is titled The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection, and while they’re talking about the process of making physical things there is a lot of crossover into the world of software development.

I’d highly recommend listening/viewing the episode (and subscribing to the podcast if pop culture, movies and making stuff are your sort of thing), however one of the key points in the episode they make is that the difference between a good “maker” and an average one is “knowing when to use a loose tolerance and when to use a tight tolerance”. That is, knowing where you have to be really careful and pay attention to a component of your project, and where you can get away with less time/attention. They also discuss how “given enough time, anyone can make a violin”, by trial and error and stumbling through the process, however an excellent maker of violins will know which bits need particular care and attention in order to produce an excellent violin.

The comparison isn’t perfect, but there are a lot of similarities, and contains many points which I think developers will find themselves agreeing with. Anyone can write code, but good projects/sites/whatevers are created by people who know which pieces need to be done well, and which pieces are less important or are easy to change later if needed. There’s also a discussion (relating to time being the key ingredient) where they discuss how tools and techniques can save you time, but are only a part of the overall equation, which is also true of writing code.

Well worth a listen.

Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:10 PM |

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