160: Decision Making 101

Sponsored by Sentry.io

Relying on customers to report errors is not good. It's rude to customers and bad for business.

Ideally, this would be solved easily with tests. Why not just cover every scenario with a test? Then life would be perfect and fine and great. Because here in reality, humans are pretty bad at writing tests. Not just because we’re all kinda lazy and maybe a little dumb, but also because we can’t anticipate every single way users are going to interact with our product. They might do something really, really, really stupid (or something really, really, really smart) that we didn’t think about.

That’s why Sentry tells you about errors in your code before your customers have a chance to encounter them.

Not only do we tell you about them, we also give you all the details you’ll need to be able to fix them. You’ll see exactly how many users have been impacted by a bug, the stack trace, the commit that the error was released as part of, the engineer who wrote the line of code that is currently busted, and a lot more.

Your code is broken. Let’s fix it together. Sentry.io.

Listener Question

@ryanmcdonough - It’d be awesome if you had any decisions product wise you had to make recently and how you came to your final choice, e.g how to structure products, elasticsearch compared to other options. Always interested to hear peoples decision processes.

Rockwell's Notes on Decision Making

Things That Work

  • Researching the options - just reading a lot, taking notes, and bookmarks
  • Pros/cons lists
  • Forcing yourself to attach quantities to things - e.g. hours
    • Doesn't have to be 100% correct, but coming up with a real number forces you to think about factors like overall time, complexity, time for communication/stalling/waiting, etc
  • Writing specs with no intention of following through
  • Analytics - for business decisions
  • Metrics - for performance decisions
  • Being decisive
    • Don't want to second-guess halfway through; leads to dead-ends
  • Don't just look for positives
    • Things to look at instead: community size/support, quantity and quality of StackOverflow issues
    • Look for things that cannot be done, are not well-supported, etc
    • e.g. When car shopping, ended up on https://www.carcomplaints.com/, CR-V issues
  • Interacting with your users

Things That DON'T work

  • Jumping right in
    • Going with the first thing you find
  • Assigning/sorting by priorities
  • Editorialized reviews - mixed bag; take with a grain of salt
    • Told a friend I was starting Elixir, heard about a toxic community?
    • Kept an eye out, but never saw it. Quite the opposite
  • Trusting marketing language
    • Lends itself to hyperbole - every product/service/technology is going to market itself as the best thing since sliced bread
  • Taking user feedback literally

Things Mentioned

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