Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Edge cases – here be dragons

Let’s be clear about one thing: there is no such thing as perfection…which inversely means that there is always imperfection. The land of imperfection is a place to tread softly. Imperfection is always rampart in project assumptions and those areas where developers feel the most comfortable: clearly defined logic. There are always edge cases, the non-norm where more mystery then factuality exists, always logic that tries to account for everything, but…….never seems to be able to. Technologists may try to convince themselves that everything is definable and that everything definable is programmable and everything that is programmable is complete…but the base assumptions are always wrong, nothing is completely definable, nothing defined can be completely programmed and nothing that has ever been coded has been complete.

Where is this going………..

A project manager needs to be aware of those who start to wander in search of perfection, such as:
  • 100% uptime (or even 99.55555%)
  • Complete data integrity
  • Performance never exceeding some sub-second time
  • Ability to identify people from bot
  • Ability for bot to replicate people
  • Performance testing
  • 100% geo coverage
And steer the people back to safe shores where obtainable objectives are achievable. Stay aware, watch for developers straying and sponsors espousing grandiose ideas. You can’t stop the explorers and doing so might stop some new discovery…but don’t let main line business projects go in search in areas where dragons abound.

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