If you have a car, then every once in a while, you probably have your vehicle checked to see if it’s still up to safety and environmental standards.
So you take your car to the garage and have it checked. Now, the garage will do some tests and eventually you’ll get a nice paper showing what kind of maintenance they have done.
Nowadays, cars are complex, computerized machines. (The days of dad lying under the car to do some fixing with some elemental tools are all but gone.) This means that as a customer, you will have to rely on the professional capabilities and integrity of the garage. You’ll have to trust that if the garage says the car is fixed and okay, it really is fixed and okay.
How would we label deliberate quick ‘n dirty fixes by developers, just to get the project ‘done’, leaving the customer with piles of technical debt?
Now imagine that you went to the garage, received the paper that your car is okay, go on the road, and your car breaks down. What would be your reaction? You’d probably hold the garage responsible for this, as they are the experts and you paid them to do a good job. What would your reaction be if they told you that they didn’t have time to correctly solve your cars problems and did a ‘quick fix’, without them telling you?
In software development I frequently come across similar situations. Companies hire in IT solution providers, to help them solve their IT related problems and deliver high quality solutions for their business. Now software products and projects tend to be very complex and therefore, customers will, one way or another, have to rely on the professional capabilities and integrity of the solutions provider (or the solutions provider, checking the solutions provider).
How then would we label deliberate quick ‘n dirty fixes by developers, just to get the project ‘done’, leaving the customer with piles of technical debt?
It is the responsibility of solutions providers and professional developers, to point out the consequences of quick ‘n dirt fixes. A good solutions provider therefore will, out of professional honor and integrity, have the courage to point out the severe consequences and even refuse quick ‘n dirty fixes, knowing that in the end, low quality won’t pay off.
Quality isn’t negotiable and long after the ‘quick’ has been forgotten, the ‘dirty’ will probably still be there.