Function over Form – Don’t go Delores on me!

Posted on March 12, 2012 by


Don't let form overtake function

Don't let form overtake function

Over the last several months I had the opportunity to work alongside some wonderful people doing some great things.  From time to time a quirk surfaced.  I love quirks because they’re opportunities to grow.

One quirk I saw I’ll call “Delores Umbridge” – in honor of the character from Harry Potter.  Delores was a most prim and proper witch.  She also hated children.  So in the Harry Potter world she was “miscast” into the wrong role.  Despite her prissiness- she was also a veiled form of evil.  She denied the existence of a resurgent threat (evil Voldermort) and forced students to abandon practical defense training for “theoretical” knowledge only.

Back to the quirk I witness.  The smart people doing good things were also getting caught up in a wave of theoretical knowledge.  Or in this case creating endless tomes and volumes of bloated documentation that had little or no bearing on the problem at hand.  Rather than validate the targeted software – the over production produced a gap between the 100 page design documents and the working software.

This is not to imply design documentation, UML 2.0, and requirements have no place.  They do.  But not at the expense of making working software happen and getting things done.

Hermoine kicks Delores

Meaningful work kicks busy work all the time!

Much like the good wizards and withes at Hogwarts, the smart people rebel and get the job done.  Proving that Hermione and Harry trump Delores every time – especially for working software.  As they do they also improve team morale and engagement of their mates!

So if you have a Delores or three in your work culture, find something to distract them.  Perhaps a friendly Centaur or two!