Base your decisions on heuristics and not on gut feeling

As a developer we tackle very often problems which can be solved in various ways. It is ok not to know how to solve a problem. The real question is: how to decide which way to go 😯

In this situations often I rather have a feeling as a concrete logical reason for my decisions. This gut feelings are in most cases correct – but this fact doesn’t help me if I want to discuss it with others. It is not enough to KNOW something. If you are not a nerd from the 80’s (working alone in a den) it is crucial to be able to formulate and explain and share your thoughts leading to those decisions.

Finally I found a solution for this problem as I saw the session of Mathias Verraes about Design Heuristics held by the KanDDDinsky.

The biggest take away seems to be a no-brainer but it makes a huge difference: formulate and visualize your heuristics so that you can talk about concrete ideas instead of having to memorize everything what was said – or what you think it was said.

Using this methodology …

  • … unfounded opinions like “I think this is good and this is bad” won’t be discussed. The question is, why is something good or bad.
  • … loop backs to the same subjects are avoided (to something already discussed)
  • … the participants can see all criteria at once
  • … the participants can weight the heuristics and so to find the probably best solution

What is necessary for this method? Actually nothing but a whiteboard and/or some stickies. And maybe to take some time beforehand to list your design heuristics. These are mine (for now):

  • Is this a solution for my problem?
  • Do I have to build it or can I buy it?
  • Can it be rolled out without breaking neither my features as everything else out of my control?
  • Breaks any architecture rules, any clean code rules? Do I have a valid reason to break these rules?
  • Can lead to security leaks?
  • Is it over engineered?
  • Is it much to simple, does it feel like a short cut?
  • If it is a short cut, can be corrected in the near future without having to throw away everything? = Is my short cut implemented driving my code in the right direction, but in more shallow way?
  • Does this solution introduce a new stack = a new unknown complexity?
  • Is it fast enough (for now and the near future)?
  • … to be continued 🙂

The video for the talk can be found here. It was a workshop disguised as a talk (thanks again Mathias!!), we could have have continued for another hour if it weren’t for the cold beer waiting 🙂

My KanDDDinsky distilled

KanDDDinsky

The second edition of “KanDDDinsky – The art of business software” took place on the 18-19th October 2018. For me it was the best conference I have visited for long time: the talks I attended at this conference created all together a coherent picture and the speakers made me sometimes feel like visiting an Open Space, an UnConference. It felt like a great community event with the right amount of people with right amount of knowledge and enough time to have great discussions during the two days.

These are my takeaways and notes:

Michael Feathers “The Design of Names and Spaces” (Keynote)

  1. Do not be dogmatic, sometimes allow the ubiquitous language to drive you to the right data structure – but sometimes is better to take the decisions the other way around.
  2. Build robust systems, follow Postel’s Law

Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send.

If you ask me, this principle shouldn’t be only applied for software development…

Kenny Baas-Schwegler – Crunching ‘real-life stories’ with DDD Event Storming and combining it with BDD

I learned so much from Kenny that I had to write it in an separate blog post.

Update: the video of this talk can be seen here

Kevlin Henney – What Do You Mean?

This talk was extrem entertaining and informative, you should watch it after it will be published. Kevlin addressed so many thoughts around software development, is impossible to choose the one message.  And yes: the sentence  “It’s only semantics” still makes me angry!

Codified Knowledge
It is not semantics, it is meaning what we turn in code

Herendi Zsofia – Encouraging DDD Curiosity as a Product Owner

It was interesting to see a product owner talking about her efforts making the developers interested in the domain. It was somehow curious because we were on a DDD conference – I’m sure all present were already interested in building the right features fitting to the domain and to the problem – but of course we are only the minority among the coding people. She belongs to the clear minority of product owners being openly interested in DDD. Thank you!

Matthias Verraes – Design Heuristics

This session was so informative, I will share what I have learned in  a separate post.

J. B. Rainsberger – Some Underrated Elements of Success for the Modern Programmer

J.B. is my oldest “twitter-pal” and in the past 5+ years we discussed about everything from tests to wine or how to find whipped cream in a Romanian shopping center. But: we never met in person 😥  I am really happy that Marco and Janek fixed this for me!

The talk was just like I expected: clear, accurate, very informative. Hier a small subset of the tips  shared by J.B.

Save energy not time!

There are talks which cannot be distilled. J. B.’s talk was exactly one of those. I will insert the link here when it will be published and I just can encourage everybody to invest the 60 minutes and watch it.

Statistics #womenInTech

I had the feeling it were a lot of women at the conference even if they represented “only” 10% (20 from 200) of the participants. But still: 5-6 years ago I was mostly alone and it is not the case anymore. This is great, I really think that something had changed in the last few years!

Finally: I just can repeat myself how I decide if a conference was successful