What is a “standard”? Well, according to my dictionary, the relevant definition (other than “a personal flag or banner”) is:
• something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example
• something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality
The 3 biggest words that stick out to me are “model”, “quality” and “value”. I think the terms “model” and “quality” are the easier ones to define as to what a standard really is. When you build solutions following corporate standards, you’ll follow established designs for general program structure and user interface and operation.That sounds like “model” to me. If your standards are already good, then following them will help you deliver the quality you want.
But what about this thing called “value”? How do standards provide it? I think the real answer lies in how you implement them…..
I came to Avanceon never have been exposed to programming standards. When I started it was like a slap in the face. Avanceon has standards, our customers have standards. There are device based standards and equipment based standards. What have I got myself into?? Why would you do this??
Now, having worked here for over 8 years, I’ve learned that all these standards have a real value. During most of my time here I have worked closely with one of our major food and beverage customers, and they, of course, have programming standards. Standard programming approaches help them save time developing and implementing new software, and we all know that time equals money, which of course has value. They make reuse easier, which of course saves engineering time.
Don’t forget this: time = money.
But from my point of view, the real value of programming standards is that they give you the confidence to go to different plants for the same customer and dive right in to fix or change things. You know how the code is organized and how the results should act and look: you can almost feel cocky and say “I got this”. It makes integrating new functionality easy and troubleshooting issues even easier, because a standards-based approach lets you automatically know where to start looking. And we are just the integrator: imagine the value standards have for the plant engineers who see it every day.
How do you establish and use standards at your company? Are there best practices you’d recommend to your industry colleagues? To learn more about how Avanceon implements standards click here!