Are You Following the Instructions on the Paint Can?

We're currently undertaking some painting projects at home. Which means I'll be following the instructions on the paint can.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:


I hope you made a copy of the instructions before slopping paint all over the original.

No, we’re actually painting it in the Hot Dog Stand color scheme.

I wish I could make every engineer at my company follow that checklist…

On another note, I’ve been in Tech Support a few times and 95% of the problems are easily fixed by reading the manual.

Interesting, James Bach is “Studying Jeff Atwood’s Paint Can”

I like this bit “I want to talk, here, about the danger of following instructions, and more specifically, the danger of following people who tell you to follow instructions when they are not taking responsibility for the quality of your work. The instruction-following myth is one of those cancers on our craft, like certification and best practices.”

Yes, James emailed me about that. Like all of his stuff, it’s great and well worth reading. It’s funny because he actually dug up something I hadn’t consciously realized: I used to run a painting business, so a lot of the paint instructions are easily understandable to me.

It will take me a little while to formulate a response, but here’s the Reader’s Digest version: I think we disagree on the meaning of “following the instructions”.

I working as painter basically to paint your place you need to have right time’s work slow, prime good, sand good, use the right paint,
read instruction on can’s


What about good ol’ shlemiel? Fundamentals are important, such as knowing when to ask questions not asked on the paint can. Just look first, eh?


Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know where to bury the bodies.


Are you really painting your house lilac?