Some Slogans

I have developed some expressions that I have found reusable, and they have thus become slogans. I have included a short explanation for each.

Yes, they're sort of pompous. Sue me.

I used to refer to these, jokingly, by number. Now, they have real numbers.

  1. All software is permanent.
    People think that they can write a program "just this once" and then "throw it away". Hasn't happened, yet. This is the source of much poor quality in computer systems. See any good Y2K site for examples.

  2. It pays to know one more level of detail than they expect you to know.
    When designers of complex systems say "easy-to-use", they mean "easy to misunderstand." When your toaster or PC works correctly, things are OK. But the moment it breaks down, unless you have some mental model of its inner workings, you are helpless to proceed. Implementors try to insulate users from detail to protect themselves (the implementors), not to protect the interest of the users.

  3. Do the rest of the world first, and you get Boston for free.
    A manifestation of field-blindness. My cow-orkers at the corporate HQ were always launching campaigns to make "corporate-wide" directories or databases, and they always started with the headquarters site or city, saying "we'll expand it
    later." This is how you end up with things like 4-digit phone numbers in a "corporate phone directory." Plan for the future: it will sneak up on you.

  4. 'Later' never comes.
    You won't get a second chance to do the project -- that's just wishful thinking. Do it right the first time.

  5. Internal customers are customers, too.
    Serve other departments as you would serve an external customer.

  6. Suffering increases in proportion to knowledge of a better way. Now available on a t-shirt!
    Ask anyone who has used a real operating system what they think of PCs. Yet, only they feel this pain. There are hopeful signs that there is getting to be more pain in the world. [Also known as Hickstein's Law]

  7. Don't say it, write it down.
    Only written procedures, wisdom, etc., count. People can't refer to your words unless they are in writing.

  8. Email is speech, not writing.
    Writing in your INBOX -- notwithstanding email servers that store messages -- is not accessible. Email is transitory. For reference materials (i.e. anything you want to share with other people), IMAP SEARCH is not the answer; HTML is.

  9. If you don't document the process, it doesn't exist.
    Then it's merely a skill. You can't share a skill.

  10. If you don't tell the ticket, it didn't really happen.
    In response teams, the ticket system is the center of life. But it's useless if it doesn't have the current status. When you work on anything, you change it: Tell the ticket about the change.
    This one might be the next t-shirt;
    tell me what you think.

  11. A computer should complete any task given it by an interactive user before the button returns to the top of its stroke.
    Also known as Hickstein's Requirement, this is a response to Wirth's Law: "Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster."

Please give credit where it's due. This page comes from Jim Hickstein.
jxh Fri Jul 27 20:10:30 PDT 2007
Copyright © 1996-2007 James A. Hickstein. All rights reserved.