A place for SGML and XML application developers.

March 17, 2008

The Word ‘Just’

Filed under: Rants/Musings — cangione @ 8:56 pm

‘Just’ is a four letter word that has no place on development projects.  That’s right, I advocate an all out ban on the word! No exceptions.

When trying to estimate the amount of work it will take to complete something, using the word ‘just’ as a bridge makes it easier to estimate things optimistically.   A.H. Weiler once said “Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself“. I would add the word ‘just’ is that man’s best friend

I actually make a game out of banning the word on my projects or during conversations where I’m trying to get to the bottom of something . It is amazing to me how the conversation changes when descriptions  like “Then the file is just downloaded to the desktop.” are not allowed. In this example, either the file is downloaded to the desktop or we are using the word ‘just’ to gloss over the fact that 5 other things need to happen to the file on the way to the desktop!

When you use the word ‘just’  enough on a project,  it can make three years worth of work seem like something that can be accomplished in 3 months!  Kurt Alder said “Tradition is what you resort to when you don’t have the time or the money to do it right“. The quote works equally well with the word ‘just’ instead of ‘tradition’

Don’t fall into the ‘just’ trap!

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