Joel on Software – The Iceberg Secret, Revealed. “I don’t know what’s wrong with my development team,” the CEO thinks to himself. “Things were going so well when we started this project. For the first couple of weeks, the team cranked like crazy and got a great prototype working. But since then, things seem to have slowed to a crawl. They’re just not working hard any more.” He chooses a Callaway Titanium Driver and sends the caddy to fetch anÊice-cold lemonade. “Maybe if I fire a couple of laggards that’ll light a fire under them!”Meanwhile, of course, the development team has no idea that anything’s wrong. In fact, nothing is wrong. They’re right on schedule.
I learned this lesson as a consultant, when I did a demo of a major web-based project for a client’s executive team. The project was almost 100% code complete. We were still waiting for the graphic designer to choose fonts and colors and draw the cool 3-D tabs. In the meantime, we just used plain fonts and black and white, there was a bunch of ugly wasted space on the screen, basically it didn’t look very good at all. But 100% of the functionality was there and was doing some pretty amazing stuff. What happened during the demo? The clients spend the entire meeting griping about the graphical appearance of the screen. They weren’t even talking about the UI. Just the graphical appearance. “It just doesn’t look slick,”Êcomplained their project manager. That’s all they could think about. We couldn’t get them to think about the actual functionality. Obviously fixing the graphic design took about one day. It was almost as if they thought they had hired painters.I’m smiling & nodding as I read this. That’s exactly what I’ve seen in meetings as I demonstrated some new feature. They didn’t care about the functionality, but spent hours discussing one pixel on the screen or what color a button should be.