Hey you, developer! Learn a bit of business speak!

time to read 2 min | 324 words

image  In a comment to one of my posts, Dave Mertens said:

I often wish I had the luxury the throw away the current code and start from scratch. Why. Because my manager ask me how long it takes to fix just this bug. 80% of the bugs (luckily we don't have that many bugs) are fixed within 2 hours including writing tests. Than he asks me how long it takes to rewrite the damn code.

It is interesting to note that the questions you ask select the answers you want.

When you give someone a choice between 2 hours of fixing code vs. 3 days of fixing code, the decision is always going to be in favor of 2 hours.

At one point in my life I was asked if I stopped beating up people. This is a twist on the old “have you stopped beating your wife yet? yes/no” question. I answered in Mu. Then I spent another ten minutes explaining what I meant.

When someone asks me those types of questions, I correct the question, before I answer. Because while you may ask questions to lead the answer in a certain way, there is nothing that says that I must go that way.

The right question is: How often are we hitting on bugs for this same code path? Then asking about how long it takes to fix the whole damn thing.

Oh, and make sure that you can fix it. There is nothing a business likes less than spending time & money on solving a problem and ending up not solving it. Leaving aside what it does to your credibility and the trust relationship with the business.