The Eighty-Twenty Rule


The first step was discovering there was a bug. Or being summoned to fix a bug. Or cajoled into helping. Maybe it wasn’t even your line of code at all. Or maybe it had just been long enough that you couldn’t quite seem to remember why you wrote it that way.

How you came about the issue itself didn’t matter. All that mattered, ultimately, was finding a fix, the journey be damned.

How you came about determining the source of the problem — the culprit, the break, the hinge upon which the whole system was failing — narrowing down the vector and maybe even the line of code itself, sometimes that took hours. Then the fix itself? If it took hours to find the problem, often times the solution itself, the fix, the actual work to followed a weird inversion of the eighty-twenty rule. If you spent hours hunting, the actual work more often was quite straight-forward. The challenge seemed all wrapped up in the journey, and the destination was but a brief coda.

If the problem was obvious and clearly pinpointed, the method to fix the problem was long-winded and tiresome and there might be little joy, if you measured everything only in the time it took.



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