Often when something is being built, the question comes up
“How far should we go with this?” If you are building application data access
layer, the questions can be:
much database vendors should we support?
many data types should we support?
caching be integrated automatically?
code support mapping to domain objects?
this mapping support multiple domain objects view of the same system and
perform transparent memory synchronization of them?
about concurrency control?
You could go with all or nothing solution and spend few
years building data access layer. This approach is also called gold plating, and is always wrong approach because
customers won’t wait 10 years for you to achieve perfection in data access. The
right answer is to do a minimum that works. In previous example you probably
won’t need support for multiple types of database nor advance domain object
If you do a minimum that works, you have:
minimum amount of time and money
have minimal amount of code/documentation to maintain
you finished faster, feedback will also come faster
- If you
were doing a wrong thing, easier it will be to get back on track
leader can do better time estimation if you just build what he requested
will have more time to work on other things that need more attention
This is true for
code, as it is true for documentation. If you try to gold plate your requirements you will end up with such amount of documentation that no one will want to read it.
Also to much trivial information can hide important information. It is
situation when you can’t see forest from trees. Look at this
excellent experiment that shows that you can do more with fewer
requirements (Thanks to Vojin for link).
It is important to stress out that doing minimum that works doesn't imply minimum quality. I can only think of three situations where low code quality is acceptable:
- solution is to small for quality to matters (e.g. project shorter than a month).
- solution is for onetime use and it will be thrown away after (e.g. application for data migration)
- solution must be finished in unrealistic short period (e.g. to satisfy important client's urgent need)