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« Growing up, I always wanted to start a business, 8 things I wish I knew.... | Main | Step away from the crack pipe, I mean business plan, step away »

August 23, 2010


Mike Lunt

Had a good chuckle reading this...thanks for sharing this point of view. While I've seen all of these at various times, several of them are reactions to expectation setting gone astray. Developers who have worked in sweatshops will often take years to overcome CYA tactics, even after working in a healthy environment. Here are common management triggers for these behaviors:

1) Is it really going to take that long? Or, back when I was a developer... Or, when we first wrote it, it didn't take that long. (...before any customers or legacy code existed)

2) Can't we design it to take into account all possible business outcomes and be delivered next week?

3) Just get done as much as you can for the sales demo, even if it's throwaway code. We'll make time to redesign and optimize it later.

Sean Bordner

What about the old “It works in our environment” – a timeless classic ;)

Great post Don!

Gabe da Silveira

I suppose you are trying to be funny, but maybe you should stick to subjects you actually know something about. I don't go around writing about lies VCs tell like 1) Entrepreneurs value my insight and experience.

Jason Gorman

The biggest lie I hear over and over again is "I'm refactoring the code", usually from developers who don't even know what that means

Sarvin Coachbuilder

I can't tell if you're purposefully baiting developers. Frankly, your list sucks and I hope you do a better job next time.

"I could do that in a weekend," I can't remember the last time I said this. I would use it as a derisive comment as in "his code sucks so back I could have done that in a weekend!"

"It's completely modular" I suppose I can't fault you for saying this, but it really sounds like you're using a very precise version of "modular." It's modular usually means it's reusable in many contexts.

"With the product debugged, we need to go back into the code and speed it up." I'm not sure why you think it's a bad idea to create something that works and then make something that works better. I can think of several industries where this actually works well; like ALL OF THEM!

"I was here working until 4am." what the developer is really saying to you; "you suck at appropriately scheduling a task and I had to be here till 4 in the morning fixing your screw up." To top it all off you don't even believe the developer. Next time why don't you stay till 4am while they work? I will point out that I'm actually at work right now; I haven't taken a day off in two weeks (by my own choice). I read this post in the morning and it's been bugging me all day. So yeah, I'm taking a 10 minute break to respond.

"We need to tweak the UI (User Interface)" or it could mean "Because I actually take pride in my work I took the time to watch how users interact with the software and I see some places for improvement."

"Trust me, it will work for the demo" I suppose there are several scenarios and I can't fault you for being upset by them. If it's demo code and it's a demo than it's probably best you run through your demonstration before hand. If it's production code, you demo and it fails you need a new developer.

"It is the server or bandwidth" I know I'm saying the obvious here but if it really IS the server or bandwidth then there's nothing wrong with highlighting the point of failure. If it's NOT the bandwidth and it's not the server then you need a new developer. When I see a problem I always assume I'm at fault until I can confirm otherwise.

"His or Their code is crap" Your explanation comes off wishy-washey. According to your title this is a lie we often tell. It sounds like you work with some pretty terrible developers and that's soured your opinion of developers in general. I work with a small group of developers and they all write great code, we review each others code, we ask questions and point out better ways of doing things.

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