Friday, January 28, 2011

Software Development Priorities

So, I occasionally write software to do useful things for students and analyze interactions in the classroom. One reason we're using Google Buzz these days is that it has excellent API support.

As an only sometimes software developer, I have to think about where it makes sense for me to spend my efforts. Here are my criteria:

  • Is it likely to be developed by someone else who will have more time to maintain it?
  • Does it require a lot of infrastructure to pull off?
  • Should it really be part of the platform but the platform provider just hasn't realized it yet?
  • How much time am I wasting on mindless repetitive tasks to achieve what I want?
  • How substantially would it help students improve their performance?
  • If I devoted a personal man week could I make substantial progress?

The answer to the first three questions has to be "no", or really close to "no". the answer to the last three has to be "pretty substantial" or "yes".