Xpages and why my tendency to Gold Plate has got harder to manage.

When we are working on a new application we often talk about bronze, silver and gold plating.

I have a tendency to want to make things too good when in fact the customer is no better off for my efforts, we refer to this as Sean’s Silver or Gold plating. Its a particular issue as we almost always work to a fixed price and experience has also shown me that every extra bell and whistle increases testing and support throughout the life of the application.

Xpages allows you to take this to whole new levels because the traditional constraints imposed by designing applications within the Notes client have been removed. Now you can have two equally functional Xpage applications  that are wildly different in terms of the interface bells and whistles.

The new functionality is obviously much welcomed and as we develop more design patterns it gets easier but it does make me wonder if it is also a risk to Notes ?

I have heard the opinion expressed several times over the years that one Notes real strengths was that you could ( only ) produce cheap applications and it was therefore very competitive. With Xpages even a simple departmental app can now be very feature rich ( or Gold Plated ). Pricing ourselves out of jobs or failing to deliver value for money to our customers is now something that we have to work harder at because our toolbox is so much bigger. A good problem to have but one that needs thought.