Feb 27

Do it Right Now or Do it Right, Now?

“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” Those can be scary words. When you hear those words you’re likely on the witness stand. The real problem is when it is YOU that is being sued. Incompetence on your part has lead to a bug. A bug that in turn lost millions of dollars for your employer or a client. Or far worse, that bug lead to the death of an occupant of a vehicle. “Do it right now” versus “do it right, now” having vastly different implications. As professionals it is our duty to apply the quality in our craftsmanship so the highest quality output is obtained. But, to do so comes at a cost. It takes a lot of extra time, effort, and forethought to have that quality. Generally deadlines are set for us and we feel that line cannot move.

Ok, the client set the deadline. It is a nearly impossible deadline. You and your team work furiously day and night to reach that deadline. In the end there are of course bugs. Processes and/or requirements have changed during the development cycle. Not enough checks and balances were done along the way. And finally a sub-par solution is presented to the client. Who’s responsible for the defects? Who’s responsible for the money and/or people hurt over time? Why was the client not told what they require could not be obtained by that deadline?

“Your honor I was merely obeying orders.” Following orders does not always save your tail. Ultimately we programmers, we professionals, we so called experts have the right to say NO. Yes the client dictated the deadline. But, what if you lost that client and the project went to someone else? Then it is not you on the witness stand trying to defend your actions by blaming the orders given. Sometimes the best outcome for us it to lose a client or a job where the best quality was not possible to apply.

I believe it will happen one day when programming professionals will be required to have some form of certification much like nursing or a physician. It will include a state level board exam. It will cost thousands. And it will cause the price of development to sky-rocket. That is not a favorable outcome.

It is impossible for us programmers to know everything. But, that is not a requirement. We are, however, required to do our best. Sometimes telling our managers and/or clients NO is the best answer. Sometimes a little loss helps us keep our head up high in our efforts to strive for quality in ourselves and in our craftsmanship.

So, are you going to do it right now OR are you going to do it “right”, now?

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