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So I was reading the flowchart shouldiworkforfree, and I was thinking what does it mean to be given creative freedom? as a developer?..

"Will they give you creative freedom?"

For example does it mean, to be given the freedom to design the User Interface/Page on your preferences (and not somebody elses, such as management)? or is it to be given the ability to implement software features without approval?

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That site looks to me like it's targeted to the solo web designer / graphics pro. For them, 'creative freedom' means a lot more than it might to a server programmer. –  Dan Pichelman Jun 16 '13 at 1:20

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

To me creative freedom means that the business tells me the high level needs of the user, but lets me have input on how the need gets implemented.

Also if I work in a team, there would not be anyone who tried to hold my hand the entire time I am implementing a feature. Ideally I am allowed to come up with a design (and talk to others about it if it has a high impact) and implement it.

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Yep. For UI and/or layout design basically. Programming is a creative endeavor, IMO, but it would never occur to an advertising agency that it was. –  Erik Reppen Jun 16 '13 at 2:30
@ErikReppen: I do not think it is just for UI or layout design. This is for every requirement, what I said abstractly applies to a lot of programming problems... –  c_maker Jun 17 '13 at 10:59
Sorry, I think I was agreeing with the first comment in your answer comment-space by accident. I don't disagree with your take on creative freedom. –  Erik Reppen Jun 17 '13 at 18:18

Creative freedom to me would be not having to adhere to arbitrary coding standards (e.g. Don't use var, have one comment every 5 lines of code, etc.) I don't think that's what the website you linked to means, though.

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I ask people to give me problems instead of a solution.

Example: Can you build a website where I can enter a list of numbers and then create various formulas and way to format the data? Of course I can, but you're going to be paying me a lot of money to build a spreadsheet. Actually, they're not going to pay you to build a full-functioning spreadsheet web app because they think this is a "simple website" just like all the rest and should cost the same. What is the problem? You need a way to enter a bunch of numbers and add them up, get a spreadsheet app.

Rarely will you be given a problem that won't have restrictions (time, budget, current technology, etc.), so why compound the matter by adding more? If you tell me how to build it, you're giving me restrictions.

Requirement Limitations

Once someone starts making assumptions (it should be a web app), they leave out important details about the problem. Without knowing the full-extent of the problem, I'm going to be making design decisions that may contradict what you really want. Even when you tell me how to build it, there won't be enough detail to code it fully. Example: Can you add a report with X, Y, and Z data? Only after hours of creating a beautifully formatted report ready for color printing, they ask you if it can be in Excel without the formatting. Now you tell me.

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