I obviously try and convert software projects to good practices when I can.  Things like peer reviews, unit tests, acceptance tests, refactoring, etc. are all practices that make a big difference in the long term health of your project.

One of the biggest areas of pushback I see is that the project is already underway, and they don’t want to change practices or go back and fix things that are broken right now.  Instead they will “fix everything in the next release.”  This type of short sighted thinking is far too common in our industry, and it is not just the fault of the project managers. Developers have a responsibility to make the project managers see the light.

I liken this mode of thinking to sailing a ship filled with cargo with a hole in the bottom of the boat.  It really doesn’t matter to me if you choose to bail out the water in this release or the next.  But plug the freakin’ hole! Please just stop any more water from coming in!  Releases are rarely delivered on time, functionality often changes mid project, and all the while you are accruing more and more technical debt.  If left alone long enough this technical debt is enough to sink the ship.  I am not asking you to take the time right now to go back and fix everything, but you *do* need to change your practices so that you stop accumulating water.  Eventually the project is going to release, and the ship is going to have to sail again.  That is when you are going to notice whether or not you took a little time to fix the hole.  If you didn’t, then getting that next release out is going to be really, really difficult.  The code is going to be difficult to change, and you are stuck bailing out an entire boat filled with water before you can even start to load the next cargo.  To make matters worse maybe some good people leave or move on to other things after the release, because they know that they are surrounded by water.  Change is always hard, but often good practices take less time than bad practices.  By fixing the hole now, you aren’t really slowing down the ship, and the ship may even live to sail another voyage.

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