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Reasons why every web developer needs to carry a bouncy ball in his pocket at all times.

Web development has it moments. In a minor way, you can create a whole new world with every project. Creativity, problem solving, mathematics, all have their place in development and can be quite rewarding. In fact job satisfaction is the only thing that keeps this snowboarder/skateboard sitting at a desk day after day.

On the other end of the spectrum, frustrations can run high. Timelines, deadlines, and unforeseen issues add anxiety that can linger long after a project is complete. To help prevent ulcers, may I suggest a bouncy ball. A bouncy ball in your pocket can provide a few seconds of childish fun when things don’t work out as planned.

Below I have listed a sanity formula for some of the issues I face daily. I’m not sure Tony (in the office next to mine) appreciates my formula, but he can always get his own bouncy ball, right?

Lack of Organization (5 Bounces)

You know it, and I know it when corners are cut, hacks are implemented to save the day, directory structures are out-grown, shortcuts usually catch up to you. If you’re paying the price daily for a poor decision made years ago, take out that bouncy ball and unleash it against the nearest wall.

Unreasonable Deadlines (10 Bounces)

What can we have by friday? is a phase that occurs way too often at my place of work. Rolling a project and assuming there will be time later to add necessary features is a flawed mindset. There is never enough time to fix half-baked features, let alone repair customer perception. Sorry Tony, that will be Ten Bounces!

Network Issues (15 Bounces)

You have a deadline looming. You’ve cleared all of your meetings so you can code without interruption. Headphones on, your favorite up-tempo mix on itunes, game on! Then you realize, server lag. Type one character, wait two seconds. The IT guy that left and the company never replaced wasn’t that important until right now. Fifteen bounces (20 if the CTO comes downstairs and asks if you can see what you can do about the internet).

Bad Eye (20 Bounces)

Have you ever taken a job, and then excitedly came up with a perfect website prototype that is exactly right for your client? Then you remember that you promised 3 layouts by your next meeting so you come up with 2 horrible layouts that they will never like. Then in your meeting, your client decides that one of your horrible layouts it exactly what the company has been looking for! Twenty Bounces!

Right Job, Wrong Person (15 Bounces)

You’re hooked up this time. A perfect client that will look great on your resume. Your lawyers have reviewed the contracts, everything is signed, and two weeks into the gig, your point of contact is changed to “Cheryl” that sounds slightly older than your mother on the phone. That’s not bad, until her first question is, “Do you know how to use the Eyedropper Tool in Photoshop?” She then proceeds to ask for your company fax number, since she doesn’t quite have this “Outlook” thing figured out. Fifteen bounces.

Lack of Direction (25 Bounces)

You company is growing, your priorities are set, and the future looks good. The web team is half way through a project that is going to do wonders for the company’s core business. Then a company exec is playing on the internet and finds a feature on a site that isn’t in your market. Your priorities are shifted overnight and the web team is hard at work on a project that doesn’t really apply to your core business, but orders are orders. Then this buddy of that same exec (who happens to be an unemployed DBA) can’t believe what the web team is working on, but he has something he’s been working on with his brother-in-law that will revolutionize our business. New priorities for the web team. If this is you, I feel sorry for you. Twenty-five bounces and a trip to the mall to reload on bouncy balls.

IE 6 Compatibility (75 Bounces)

Seriously? Can IE 6 die yet?


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