It’s no secret that I love the show Home Improvement, especially if you know me personally or follow me on Twitter. As a freelancer I have the luxury of watching it everyday in the middle of the afternoon, and I got to thinking- there is a lot programmers and web developers can learn from Tim Taylor and his antics.
Tim has a lot of big ideas on the show- he always wants to add more power, and create bigger and better things. They often backfire, or are too powerful for Â the job needed. Lesson: Beware of Scope Creep! Adding that stuff might be cool and look awesome, but you’re taking more time and going over budget by getting away from the core functionality.
You will often see Al trying to convice Tim not to do certain (read: most) things and saying his catch phrase, “I don’t think so Tim.” Often, if Tim had listened he would have avoided injury. Lesson: Listen to your Team Members! You code on a team for a reason, and it’s always helpful to have a second or third set of eyes checking your work.
Finally, Tim is always trying new things, then reavling them only to have these new contraptions not work on the first try. Lesson (and this is a big one): Test Test Test! Many of these faux pas would have be avoided if he tested his projects before revealing them. I also know from personal experience that testing is something most developers aren’t fans of.
Of course, most of this is said tounge-in-cheek. I love the show and have argued that show was the manliest on TV (I will leave that for another post). But the lessons are still there. These are three lessons- scope creep, working as a team, and testing- Â that every developer, myself included, should keep in mind for every project.