Friday, June 6, 2008

Can You Please Stop Screwing Up?

Is it ok to screw up code? Is it ok to create architecture that is so complex that no one can use it?Is it ok that people do stuff that they know is bad? Is it ok that some people go ahead and do something entirely different from what they agreed on?

When being asked these questions, most developers answer something like "no, it is not ok". But when it happens to us, what do we do? Are we making sure that the person responsible for the screw up get to know about the effect what they have done? Or are we just ignoring it and hoping it will not happen again?


Be rational, be polite, but make sure that your point gets through. Do not confuse telling people about what they have done wrong with punishment. Punishment does not help, enlightenment does.

In professional software development, it is way too expensive to ignore screw up's. And it is even more expensive to accept them over time.

Would a professional football team accept it if their goalkeeper kept letting goals in because he was occupied with something else every time the ball get close?

Would it be ok for a professional race driver to constantly ignore the map reader, making every race a crash?

We are professional developers, act like it.

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