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Avoiding the cone of silence

One of my guilty pleasures is old TV programs. One series that was particularly entertaining was the show Get Smart, which if nothing else has an awesome name. (A great commandment: Get Smart! Immediately, already! What’s taking you so long?)

On the program they would occasionally employ a tool called The Cone of Silence, which was supposed to permit its users to speak about secrets in a way that prevented others from hearing them. It never worked properly, making it impossible for the users to understand each other, but everyone else could hear them fine. This was of course the big joke.

Sometimes I use my own cone of silence. As an independent programmer, I’m used to doing things on my own, and other than gathering customer feedback, I rarely get feedback from others. This is good for helping me focus, but also has its risks.

Last week I was showing my husband an application I am working on. He asked about why I was using a certain navigation approach, then suggested an alternate and far superior option. Rats! The cone of silence failed me again.

The lesson here is that having another set of eyes is a good thing. It is good for customers and it is good for the software. Don’t let software design and development happen inside a cone of silence. Feedback is a good thing! (Now where did I put that shoe phone?)

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Comments  1

  1. Jacki Hollywood Brown 31 May

    You're right about having support. I've done a number of proof reading requests for colleagues (as they have done for me). It is so funny when you find something like the "pubic affairs department" instead of "public". Well it is funny until you've realized you've published the document WITH the error.
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