Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's Always Your Fault

Jeff Atwood has a great article, called: The First Rule of Programming: It's Always Your Fault.

An excerpt: "You know the feeling. It's happened to all of us at some point: you've pored over the code a dozen times and still can't find a problem with it. But there's some bug or error you can't seem to get rid of. There just has to be something wrong with the machine you're coding on, with the operating system you're running under, with the tools and libraries you're using. There just has to be!"

It is far more likely that something you built is causing the error than, say, the OS, hardware or Network: "of total errors reported, roughly 95% are caused by programmers"

I can't count the number of times I had to deal with resistance to take ownership or cooperate. No, it wasn't the codebase, there has to be something wrong with the system or the network. Even when faced with cold, hard data to prove otherwise. Or, the other way around: no, our network and systems are sized just fine, the application is causing all the issues! They are at fault, not us.

The way I usually deal with these kind of issues is to get everybody together in one room and break down the boundary. This is an issue we have to solve together. After all, what are we really talking about here? This is not about who's at fault here, this is not about personal abilities. This is about a technical issue. Heck, it might even be because of some weird interaction between the network configuration and the code for all we know. Who knows? Hmm... couldn't that be the case?

Once the defenses are down, people are focusing on the issue and willing to work together to solve it, we can really get down to business. And call for pizza of course!

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