Monday, January 11, 2010

"Excellence" is a drive from inside, not outside

A little story I found which I think relates to software development in a way..
A tourist once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, "Do you need two statues of the same idol?" "No," said the sculptor without looking up, "We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage." The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage. "Where is the damage?" he asked. "There is a scratch on the nose of the idol." said the sculptor, still busy with his work. "Where are you going to install the idol?" The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar twenty feet high. "If the idol is that far, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?" the gentleman asked. The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, "I will know it."
Can we apply this whole story to software development? No. Often we need to ship the product without it being perfect. Something we can learn from this story is that although the customer does not care about continuous integration, best practices,.. we as developers do should care about everything that isn't visible to the customer.

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