Saving time with code

A year or so ago I wrote that...

...every team should have a coder. Not to build software, not exactly. But to help build quick, thin solutions to everyday problems — in a smart way. Developers are special people. They are good at solving problems in flexible, reusable, scalable ways.

Since writing that, I've written more code than ever. I'm not ready to say that my starry-eyed vision of a perfect world of techs-cum-coders, but now I see that the path to nimble teams is probably paved with long cycle times, and never-ending iterations of fixing bugs and writing documentation.

So potentially we replace the time saved, three times over, with a tool that now needs documenting, maintaining, and enhancing. This may not be a problem if it scales to lots of users with the same problem, but of course having lots of users just adds to the maintaining. And if you want to get paid, you can add 'selling' and 'marketing' to the list. Pfff, it's a wonder anybody ever makes anthing!

At least xkcd has some advice on how long we should spend on this sort of thing...

All of the comics in this post were drawn by and are copyright of the nonpareil of geek cartoonery, Randall Munroe, aka xkcd. You should subscribe to his comics and his What If series. All his work is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial.