Thursday, 27 May 2010

Design is contextual

i once wrote about the fact that there is no perfect and absolute design approach/strategy. To me design always depends upon the context of the system it is developed for and it should evolve along with the system.

Furthermore, I believe design decision should also be based on the context of the people involved i.e. the development team. Meaning that a good design for a given system in one team might not be appropriate for a different team working on the SAME system

To understand the previous statement, we need to first consider the main goal in software design. Not what makes good design but what we would expect a good design to do for us, or why is design important. For me a good system design is one that will minimize both the system maintenance cost and the cost of of developing new capabilities. And if we can agree on this definition I would assert that it is only natural that the people working on the system must be considered in any design decision. Some people find that a high level of abstraction easy to work with, but other people prefer a more procedural approach and find the same level of abstraction hard to understand. Even when I consider myself I know that during different phases of my professional life my taste about design have changed and what I found to work for me these days does not looks resemble what i found easy to understand a few years ago. (and only part of this can be attributed to better design capabilities)

When choosing a design always balance your decisions between your design capabilities and the need to apply good design principles. Sometime going one way because someone smart said it should be like this (even if that person is really smart) will not benefit you unless you understand why this is good.

At the end no matter where you will go you will need to evolve the design along with the product and along with the team applying and using that design.


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