Product Development Proverbs, Principles and Maxims

In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned will find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.

Eric Hoffer

It’s what you do now, when you don’t have to do anything, that makes you what you want to be, when it’s too late to do anything about it.


By the time the rules of the game are clear, the windows of opportunity will have closed.

Santhanam C. Shecker

Plan to throw one away; you will anyway." In object oriented systems experience suggests that three refactorings of the design are needed "before it feels right"

Fred Brooks in the "Mythical Man Month"

God gave everyone one mouth and two feet. When you want to know a person’s true intent, watch the feet.

Richard Reich

We will be better and braver if we engage and inquire than if we indulge in the idle fancy that we already know - or that it is of no use seeking to know what we do not know.


Lunacy is to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.


The difference between theory and practice is in theory somewhat smaller than in practice.


Tell me and I’ll forget;
show me and I may remember;
involve me and I’ll understand.

Chinese Proverb

Falling down is part of growing up.

Old saying

The easiest way to predict the future is to create it.

Alan Key

A quality tool is one that pleases me every time I use it.

Donn Combelic


Framework Principles

You should know where you are going, so you will know whether you have arrived.

Object-oriented technology is not the goal of a project, but a means to attain the goal.

Reuse is demonstrated. Reuse cannot be proved prospectively; it can only be demonstrated retrospectively.



Plan to re-plan. Confidence comes from the planning process, not from the plan.

We get things wrong before we get them right. We make things badly before we make them well.

Just get started. Be willing to be wrong in early partitioning.

Think before you act. When in doubt, don’t code, analyze.

Start small. Don’t ramp up too fast.

If it is not written down, dated, and distributed, it is not real.

Prototype for clarity. Look for analysis prototyping opportunities to help clarify requirements

Responsibility demands authority. People cannot be successful if they are given responsibility without authority.

Make the end user an insider. Successful teams enroll the end user as an insider, an active member of the product team.

Work with your people. People don’t resist change, they resist being changed.

Disasters. Disasters don’t happen by accident; they are entirely creditable to your own management.

Fail-safe minimization. If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t do it on a large scale.

The third wave. You may forget some critical factors, but they won’t forget you.

The promise. Never make promises you cannot keep, no matter what the pressure.


Copyright © 2004 Erwin Gabler