Monday 13 October 2014

The last responsible moment

Deciding too late is dangerous, but deciding too early in the rapidly changing world of software development is arguably even more dangerous. Let the principle of Last Responsible Moment be your guide.

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In similar context, Don Norman describes this as "Late Binding":
"Late binding is a technical term in computer science, meaning, basically, to delay decisions until as late as possible. Now if you look the term up in Wikipedia, you will find it discussed in rather disparaging terms. Making decisions early means it is possible to check their accuracy, etc. Making early decisions improves efficiency at the time of execution: no more thinking or gathering of information - just act. These reasons might be OK if the goal in life is to improve the efficiency of our machines, but when it comes to accommodating the complexities of human behavior, these are all poor reasons.  Delaying decisions until the time for action is beneficial for lots of reason. First, it provides the maximum amount of time to think, plan, and determine alternatives. Second, it enhances flexibility, allowing the actual action to take full advantage of the unique circumstances at the time it is required. And third, because the requirements are continually shifting and changing, delaying decisions allows the  most current issues and situations to be accommodated."

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