Thursday, March 20, 2014

Last Mile Tip #3 – Beware of the Boring Stuff

You know how it is when you are building your application, you have the key features you need to build to make your app come to life.  In a lot of cases these key features are something new and challenging.  If you’re like most developers you are motivated by doing something new and challenging so you start on those parts of the app.  Then after you put a little time into it, things start coming together, problems start getting solved.but as you do that, there are a number of small less exciting things that need to be done to complete the app.  You know how to do it, or it really doesn’t seem that exciting so you say to yourself, yeah, I know how to do that, once I get the primary functionality in the app working I’ll come back and add in that “forgotten password” feature or that regular expression on the email address feature, or something like that.  Sound familiar?

In a lot of cases, you get the primary functionality and think you are ready to ship and then all those little extra boring tasks need to be completed.  Hopefully you read my earlier post on making lists, if you do this as you go, once you get to this point you won’t be fooling yourself in thinking, just one more thing and I can submit, you’ll have a relatively complete list of work and should be able to gauge the effort ahead of you.  As I also mentioned in that earlier post, sometimes when you come across that sort of thing, you should just shift gears a little and knock out some of the smaller items.  It may not seem exciting at the time, but will dramatically shorten your final to-do list.  Another thing that I found helpful is to start reusing assets from other projects, ideally this would be in the form of a common library you use among all your mobile projects, but even just the cut-and-paste refactoring method is better than redeveloping the wheel each time.  Also where possible if you can use an existing application frameworks they may already have dealt with a considerable number of those boring yet necessary tasks.

Last but not least, just being aware of the fact that as a typical developer you are probably deferring all the “boring” tedious development tasks as you go might be enough to change your behavior and make your last mile go a little quicker. 

-twb

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