July 12th, 2012

Last night I read a tweet from Alan Cooper, the father of Visual Basic. His tweet read:

IMHO, the problem is that people (managers) keep looking for shortcuts. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS IN SOFTWARE!!

Very good point on the shortcuts. Shortcuts in software always turn out to be detours. By taking a shortcut -no matter how small- you always delay your team and almost always in the very near future. You don’t want to be responsible for your team’s delay, do you?!

But this tweet should not only mention managers as the people looking for shortcuts. Isn’t the programmer the one that takes the actual shortcut? Sure thing it’s more convenient to blame someone else. But the programmers are the ones taking the shortcuts, not the managers.

Though managers can be quite pushy, it’s not fair to only blame them for any taken shortcuts. When a manager tries to push for a shortcut, the programmers have to say no. And they must stick with it, as a team.

A professional programmer knows not to take shortcuts. He or she would try to find out the reason why the manager is pushing for early delivery and what he want it for. And a professional manager would openly discuss his needs with the programmers. Together they can work out a solution that is mutually agreeable.

If you want to learn more on becoming a professional programmer -and you should- make sure to read The Clean Coder, an excellent work by Robert C. Martin.