Dev Rule #1: Delivery Isn’t a Cure-All

How many programmers view themselves as craftspeople? From those I know, the vast majority.

When dates are on the line and customers are shouting – many programmers with that mindset will hunker down, work extended hours, and chant the mantra – “Once we ship, everything will be better.” This is a lie.

Best Case Scenario: You hit whatever date the boss or customer wants and deliver exactly what they want. In years of development, I’ve yet to see a single deliverable that qualified as exactly what someone wanted. Even with extensive documentation and discussion beforehand. Delivery is compromise. The verified features and functionality of software meets the standard set. People always want more, it’s why no software is ever “done”. If the end product is exactly what they wanted, the bitter taste of angry meetings and phone calls will flavor your delivery like an open container of ice cream left in a freezer of rotten meat and onions. It may still be ice cream, but it tastes like garbage.

Worst Case Scenario: Continual miss communications force further and further schedule slips and angry calls until the product is cancelled and new “leadership” or (more likely) a new development team is brought in to “Fix Things”. This is, almost universally, the end result of using a poor outsourcing team or contractor. At some point, a manager is gonna realize that doubling down on the steaming pile isn’t gonna work. Don’t be in this situation, it won’t end well.

Delivery won’t necessarily hurt a bad situation, but it’s also not guaranteed to help. Continual communication and clear expectations keep bad situations at bay. Some leadership may simply be toxic – but the vast majority of people in the world simply want to get things done and not look stupid in the process. Delivery only fixes the first part of that, and it can make the second part substantially worse.

An amazing craftsperson doesn’t just make an amazing product – they sell the world that it is amazing. Quality whispers – it doesn’t shout.

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