About cutting corners

It takes time to understand a problem, because before you can fully understand it, you need to also understand its context. As a code base grows, depending on how well the code is structured, the context in which you need to understand the problem can (and often will) grow.

When a problem or its context is misunderstood there is a tendency to oversimplify the problem. I’m all for finding a simple and elegant solution but not at the cost of correctness. Oversimplified solutions will not be able to handle all special cases, and special cases lead to crashes or data corruption… or both. This in turn leads to maintenance and clean up by the programmer which I would much rather have coding on this next big thing.

The available time to implement a solution is not only challenged by a push for quick deliveries but also a lack of respect that creating software is actually hard. I’ve experience this lack of respect from all involved parties (including the programmer).

Even though I strive to “do things right”, I also think it is okay and often necessary no to. But it should be a conscious decision.

I.e. making sure to handle two use cases (corner cases) will increase development time but at the same time those a very unlikely to happen or if they happen they are very easy to correct manually. If someone makes a conscious decision that these cases should be handled outside the software, then it is okay.

It is NOT okay (and very short sighted) when the pressure doesn’t allow collecting the necessary information to make that decision.

So by all means cut corners - but only do so together with proper risk assessment.