Embarrassment Driven Development

Mar 2, 2009 14:03 · 250 words · 2 minute read

Googling “embarrassment driven development” (EDD) does not return as many hits as it should. I think it’s a very powerful development technique. I first heard the expression from the Plone guys at PyCon 2006, and Google did turn up this match:

[ArchipelagoSprint] Time to get cracking on Plone 3.0!

Wrt. timelines, I was hoping that we could try to have a “Tech preview” release before the Plone Conference 2006 in Seattle (October 25-27) – I’m going to be on-stage there talking about the exciting new features of Plone 3.0 – and I’d like to not be booed off stage. Yes, this is embarrassment-driven development – as usual. 😉

That’s Alexander Limi illustrating the prime motivator for EDD.

The idea behind EDD is simple: if you have to demo something in front of an audience, and that something sucks, you will move hell or high water to make sure you don’t look like an idiot.

Every product has rough edges and warts, but no one wants a demo to be all warty and to have to say “yeah, I know you shouldn’t have to click to the left of the button, but we just haven’t gotten to that yet”. EDD ensures that, at least for the parts you have to get up and show, the rough edges will be smoothed in time for the show.

I’m going to be practicing EDD leading up to JSConf. I want to be able to show some useful, non-trivial bits of ServerJS work by then.