afontcu.dev

A small increment

Someone was pleased with us last week.

(“us” as in “my team”).

Turns out, we deployed a contrived new version of a form they were using. Among other stuff, there was an input to introduce the bank account. A single text field where you could paste the number from somewhere else.

How exciting, a form with an input. You’re such a senior developer.

We didn’t know back then, but before this new version, our users had to type it into several inputs. So they would copy the account number into notepad, split where necessary, and then paste it back to our form.

t-w-e-n-t-y-f-i-r-s-t c-e-n-t-u-r-y, my friends.

The form contained other goodies, but that blew up.

I know what you’re thinking.

“But hey, you didn’t know”

That’s true, and that’s a shame. We should have known better. We should’ve been aware of such an issue waaay before.

And the only way I can think of is to sit down next to them.

Imagine knowing that in advance. Imagine realizing that your software is forcing users to do such a stupid thing as manually splitting a damn bank account number.

Would you say that’s a software increment worth developing and deploying?

(The answer is yes).

A small increment

Yeah, we added a better text input.

That piece of code is not gonna end up in a museum. Such a museum would need to feature reaaally weird stuff, to be honest.

Yet, we helped someone. You know when we folks say “whatever whatever providing value to users”? Well, this is it.

I work at Holaluz. I don’t sell energy, I don’t manage clients. I’d suck at selling, I’d suck at managing (not only) clients. My only skill, if any, is to create software to let people do such activities.

We made someone’s life a bit better. This is why we (software developers) were here in the first place.

We delivered a small increment.

Was that enough? Well, that really depends on your definition of “enough”.

Is the app done? Is the “bigger” feature finished? Not for a bit. Again, I’d argue that “finished” is a vague word in the software development world.

Was it an “integrated, running, tested version of the software” (that’s a quote)? It was.

Did it feel good? Lol you bet, I even ended up writing a newsletter issue about it.

I mean, it took me more to come up with this text than to develop that stupid back account input field.

Bottom line

Small things do provide value. And they are easier to come up with.

So, keep things small. No, not that small. Smaller. Smaller I, said. Break stuff until you can do it in… a day, or two.

Then do it. Test it. Integrate it. Deploy it. Check if it is useful to someone. Then focus on the next small (noooo, smaller!) item on the list.

Rinse and repeat.