It’s not about you. It’s about results.

Recently, something happened that shook my confidence a little. Before I get to that, let me say that I’m a fairly competent in web applications, in particular, .Net web applications. I have done image creation/processing, CSS validations, and making sure the web applications are as cross-browser as possible. I have made the user interface as simple and as easy to use as possible. I’ve read up tons of security measures and implemented many of them on the web server and in programming too. I follow any sensible coding guideline. Database tables are designed to be relevant and scalable for as long a time as possible. I’ve even released two public web sites, all single-handedly done by me.

Now, in between doing new projects, I also try to improve existing ones. So I have this pet project. Being that it’s a pet project, I let my creativity fly on the web application. I tried out my own 3d rendered graphics. I pushed my CSS skills in managing display. I even tested out what was to me very new, AJAX, to make the web application more lively, more “real-time”.

Then one fine day, it was decided that my pet project is actually going to make a difference in the team’s overall productivity. So it became a full-fledged project. Suddenly there was a deadline. Suddenly people are going to see it and use it. I mean like really see this project of mine. And then it happened. My deluge of “change this”, “that’s not right” and “I want it that way” came.

For the first few seconds, I was like outraged. I mean who are they to comment on my work? I was enraged. I was indignant. Then, I calmed down. Because I realise that it doesn’t matter what you think. Ultimately those people who said “do this and do that” are the ones who will use your application. Accept that.

It’s not personal. (Ok, sometimes it is…), so I want you to concentrate on the results. What is it that the users ultimately want? Your code can be the most elegant piece of creative work there is, but if it doesn’t do what the user want, it’s useless.

Focus on the user. And yes, sometimes, you have to let go of your code.

  1. Ben

    One thing I learned about programming in the real world is you are only as good as your last piece of code. That’s the one people remember.
    Not only that people remember your mistakes more than your successes.

  2. Vincent Tan

    Oh yes, my latest and greatest piece of software. Once my users need something else, they forget about my latest work of art.

    Then while I’m maintaining the legacy code, they’ll tell me what application errors there are and how the application sucks.

    I so totally agree with you…

Comments are closed.