TITLE: Imbued With The Spirit Of YAGNI AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: March 16, 2009 3:41 PM DESC: ----- BODY: I spent most of the last four days of last week -- and nights -- digging out of the result of having lived 17 years in one house, as a moderate pack rat living with three major pack rats. Remember that whole moving agile thing? Fuhgeddaboudit. The idea worked well for a few weeks. But then we encountered a problem everyone knows to avoid: the developers were the same people as the customers. When we got somewhere between 60% and 80% of our stuff moved, we reached something akin to a software prototype that offers most of the desired features. At that point, the customers went inexplicably AWOL. They were happy enough with the 80% solution. Then came a long period of no measurable progress, no external motivation, and no Big Visible Chart to keep the developers honest. Finally came the week of the closing on the sale of the old house. We were exceedingly lucky to have found buyers the first day the house was on the market and to have them want to close in a brisk five weeks. Hurray! ... except for the part about moving the rest of our stuff. We found ourselves in horrible crunch mode. The last 20% took 80% of the total move time. I worked around the clock for four days, stopping for classes and essential meeting. In the end, we just made it -- I, dead tired, with a bad cold, and a lot of stuff in boxes. Why the title? After 17 years of saving things we "might need some day", we know the answer. We never did. We had boxes. Packing material. Textbooks, class notes. YAGNI. Really. I went from sentimental fool having a hard time tossing anything to pitching favored gifts and keepsakes like a disinterested pro. A few possessions rose above the newly-elevated threshold for what to keep, but not many. If I don't have a specific plan for using something in the next few weeks, it is gone. I have enough boxes and portfolios and a pile of notebooks and pads sufficient to outfit a medium-sized government agency. If I don't have a specific scenario for reminiscing over some memento, it too is gone. Sportsmanship trophies from 2nd-grade basketball leagues? I don't think so. I ain't gonna need it. I trust that now. This is the best lesson for living more simply than I've ever received. -----