Sunday, October 27, 2013

In Defence of the Developers

I have seen myself and other Developers I have worked with miss on obvious silly things - may be an obvious typo - or a mis programmed checkbox etc. Really obviously silly things which will make me kick myself  ( or my pair ).

Well here is psychology to the rescue.

Invisible Gorilla

A study was commissioned by a psychologist long back.

He played a video of  a basketball game between a team wearing white shirts and team wearing black shirts. The participants where asked to count the number of passes made by the white team.

Most of the participants got the total number of passes correct.

Here is the twist. In the middle of the game, a girl dressed in a gorilla suite, walks across the floor. And most of the participants who were busy counting the passes - totally missed it. When the video was played back to them they were shocked at how they could have missed the gorilla.

The logic behind is that our brain operates in 2 modes - the Analytic mode and the Intuitive mode. When the Analytic mode has been turned on and is in full swing ( counting the number of passes ), the Intuitive mode switches off or is suppressed ( which watches out for such oddities as a gorilla enter a basketball game ).

The Gorilla Bugs 

When we developers work on a feature - the analytical brain is fully fuelled and does not stop till the feature is complete. We have to watch for syntax, potential bugs, unit tests, failing tests, code beauty, backward & forward compatibility - apart from developing the functionality.

The obvious things ( in the eyes of the world ) get ignored when we are immersed in dishing out the functionality.

This is my defence - to the questions - "Did you not see it", "How can you miss it" - for most of the simple cosmetic things - that we developers miss out at times.

Now to myself, and you my brothers ( and sister ) developers

After we finish our coding session - we have to switch off our analytic brain and switch on our intuition.

Shut down the editor window, fire up the app, think you are a user - and see it through their eyes. I bet we can find a few Gorillas chilling out while we were writing code.

That is how we grow from being a Code Monkey to a Zen Master Coder.

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