What do software developers and plasterers have in common?

Control F1 Lead Developer Nick Payne’s musings on the similarities between plastering and programming.

What do software developers and plasterers have in common? A bizarre question, you might say, but hear me out.

Recently, having purchased our first home, we were on the look out for trades-people – people skilled in the art of making our world comfortable, pleasing to the eye and functional. However, we were at something of a disadvantage. We didn’t have the first idea about how to install an alarm system, hang wallpaper or plaster a ceiling; nor did we have the tools or time to do so. We also didn’t have a clue what it might take – both in temporal and pecuniary terms – to get to where we wanted to be.

What we did know, however, is that our home needs to be secure, not to have holes in the wall where the up-lighters used to be, and to have ceilings that are free from asbestos. 

So discussions began, and we soon realised that we needed a plan; some requirements and maybe an idea of cost. We headed to Google and looked for trades-people local to us, but Geography alone wasn’t enough – we also needed to feel confident that their previous work was acceptable to their customers.

The alarm system was particularly enlightening. Being a self-confessed geek, I wanted an all singing, all dancing, system – one which I could monitor remotely, turn on and off from upstairs and downstairs, arm automatically when I left from both front and rear doors, etc. etc… It quickly became obvious that I’d missed the point!  

On speaking to our chosen alarm specialist (who also happened to be the electrician) I realised a few things: I’ve never left the house by the rear door; the house isn’t big enough to warrant being able to set the alarm from upstairs; that remote monitoring is only as good as the people at the end of it. We also realised that although the electrician was more than happy to install such a system, we simply couldn’t justify the cost – it would give us no additional benefits over and above what we now have installed.

It was a similar story with the plasterer: we showed him the rooms we needed attending to and he said, “that’ll be £X”. I was rather taken aback. We chatted further and it soon became clear that he’d plastered many a ceiling before, of the same size, in similar houses, with similar resources and materials. 

So, back to the original question… how does this compare to software development? Well, software developers are able to provide systems just like the all singing, all dancing alarm system. We’re also able to give a confident quote when we’ve done similar work before. But the really good developers can also get to the bottom of what it is that you really want. 

Here at Control F1, we work hard to understand what it is that you’re trying to achieve, and to provide the most cost efficient, effective solution possible. And whilst innovation remains at the heart of what we do, we tell it like it is and never provide you with novelty purely for the sake of it. Just as repairing the holes in my walls and making my home secure improves my physical existence, so at Control F1 we find the best solution to make your digital life better. 

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