Go Go Go

courtesy of Dave-F 

courtesy of Dave-F

Have you ever written software that was rushed from the get go?  I know I have and it's not always turned out so great. Usually all that comes of it is some poor design decision that my coworkers and myself have to live with for a while. Duplicated data, odd database schema, and copy/pasted code are the norm when you are forced to rush something out the door.

This whole rush thing really drives me crazy.  I can understand a push every now and then, but lately it's become an everyday occurrence, and it's getting old.  People don't understand that good stuff doesn't happen by accident.  Good design isn't easy and bad design doesn't come cheap.  In the end you are creating more maintenance overhead when you don't plan accordingly.

This post could have easily been called "Your bad planning is not my emergency."  Unfortunately, it is when those making the bad planning are in management.  It's my job to make things happen. Luckily, I haven't made any major mistakes while rushing around doing these things.  But that's all it is, luck.  I'm dreading the day that I end up rushed down some path and I make a HUGE mistake that costs my company an important client or loses us a lot of money.

All I want is to do a good job.  In order for me to do that, I need time to think things through.  That's it.  I'll come up with a good plan and make it happen.  When I've been given the opportunity to work on a reasonable timeline, the results have been outstanding.  Those projects (I can count them on one hand) are easy to maintain, configurable, fast, and generally painless.  Design it, develop it, refactor it, test it and roll it out.  That's what makes me tick.

So, here I am with 4 or 5 "ASAP","Important","Urgent","Now Now Now" projects on my plate.  People will say things like "I know you're busy, but I need this thing done tomorrow."  Great!  Thanks for your consideration.  It's okay that you knew about needing this thing 4 weeks ago.  I'll just add it to my never ending list of shit that needs done tomorrow.  All I can do is smile and keep going, while on the inside I just died a little bit more.  No one cares about how this is affecting me.  All they care about is that I get their stuff done so they don't look like a slacker.  I get to do more work so that you can look adequate.  Awesome.

Last night I went to bed at 6:30pm because I was just mentally exhausted from the stress.  It's an uphill battle that I'm losing.  Will it all get done?  Is it all going to work?  Am I going to die an early death from the constant stress and the associated high blood pressure?  Or will I just snap one day and tell someone off?  Only time will answer these questions.   So, dear reader, is this just my unfortunate situation, or do you share the same pain that I do?

5 Comments so far

  1. Emery @ February 18th, 2009

    That’s really intense. Hope things calm down for you.

  2. Aaron @ February 19th, 2009

    Emery, I blame you!

  3. Jared @ February 19th, 2009

    unfortunately this sounds all to familiar to me, and it is probably a symptom of both the economy and (more-likely) small startup culture.

    Most smaller companies out there are chasing down the dollars as fast as they can in order to stay alive and they aren’t really thinking about the cost of maintaining this customer in 6 months.

    I’m not sure if you work at a startup or not but I’ve worked at 3 small startups now and it seems that the “i need this yesterday” attitude runs rampant in those environments.

    I know I’m probably not helping but I’ve been there, if your company wasn’t like this before it will more than likely go back to the way it was, and if not well, no job is worth your sanity.

  4. Bruno De Barros @ February 23rd, 2009

    Oh my god, yes. >.< That really sounds like me. I especially dislike it when I get a call from one of the customers and they say they need a small change, they start saying that it shouldn’t be anything big, that it’s only doing this or that, so I should have it done in a day or two. Most of the times, they are dead wrong, and their small change on the outside (the UI) implies a massive change on the inside (the code). And I can’t seem to get the message through to them. And they expect me to do it in a day, when it requires much more time than that.

    @Jared, you’re right there. I work as a freelancer (I’ve created the Terra Duo Group with a friend of mine, but we’re still in the process of setting it up, which is hard due to the workload that I’ve been getting lately from projects that “need to be done yesterday”, in your words), and quite a few of my customers are start-ups, and I see that kind of behavior in them. At least I have the freedom to turn a customer down if I already have too many projects in progress. 😛

  5. Anthony @ March 6th, 2009

    Nailed it. ‘I get to do more work so that you can look adequate. Awesome.’

    That whole paragraph sums up my entire day… daily. Credit is given in a ‘thanks man,’ and maybe an ‘i owe you one’ but that NEVER comes from the important people. Just the ignorant SOB who slacked off on their task, and rely on you to drop everything to get it done.. ‘Cuz your their ‘buddy’.

    I say ‘SCREW YOU’ to all you management types who drop this crap on your developers! *Well, ok maybe I don’t say that, more like, sure I can get that done…

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