I've been struggling for the past two weeks to put up a post on technical debt that doesn't sound like passive-aggressive "how to manage your boss" or "how to trick your boss."
That is not my intent.
So, while I may post one of my working copies later, I'd like to make this clear now.
Imagine a carpenter who is a professional craftsman. The carpenter is brought into a job and told to "hurry it up - we have to have the framing complete by November 1st."
Now, carpentry is more fungible than technical work; if you have a standard pattern, it is much easier to throw a half-dozen extra bodies on it to hit the date. The carpenter brings this up to the general contractor, who says "No. Work unpaid overtime if you have to, but HIT THE DATE!!"
What is the carpenter going to do?
Well, he could slack off a _bit_. He might save five or ten percent of his time by doing a poor job, that would decrease the lifespan of the house substantially.
But as a homeowner, you don't want him to do that, do you?
Moreover, the carpenter probably went though an apprentice program for three or more years, where he saw reasonable standards, and, possibly, heard a journeyman say "no" a couple of times.
If he loses the job, so be it. In most cases, carpentry is contract work, and there are plenty of people looking to build houses. The point is, he is responsible for doing high quality work to an ethical standard. To paraphrase Richard Bach, you can either own your process ... or be it's victim.
We lack and understand of craft in Technical work. The job training programs we have are largely academic, not On The Job Apprenticeships - we don't know how to respond.
So we blame management, take shortcuts we should not, and act like victims.
Shame on us.
Shame on us!
Please keep that spirit in mind when I post the next article in the series. I am still not 100% confident in it. If you know me personally, please feel free to email me and ask for a preview before I post it; I am interested in your opinions.
Schedule and Events
March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email: Matt.Heusser@gmail.com