Re: standards

Subject: Re: standards
From: Ad absurdum per aspera <JTCHEW -at- LBL -dot- GOV>
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 18:40:43 GMT

Some random thoughts on standards:

* Whoever mentioned the phrase "mature process" nailed it.
If a process or technique is mature, set (or identify) and
follow a standard. If it's maturing, issue guidelines based
on first principles and/or accepted practice. If it's still
growing fast and changing, give the people closest to the
work more time to figure out what's best.

* Don't push the analogy between documentation standards and
engineering standards too far; it isn't very stretchy. One
key difference is whether compatibility with the products and
expectations of others is physically or cognitively important.
In other words, know your purpose and your audience.

* Standards should liberate you from petty concerns, reinvention
of the wheel, and incompatibility, not straitjacket you with
conformism. Make certain your standards-checker knows this.

* Don't get so caught up in the tempest that you can't tell
whether it's occurring in a teapot.


"The only way to deal with bureaucrats is with stealth and sudden
-- UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, NY Times, 10-15-93

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