As in Dijkstra‘s quote above, when people criticize Quick-and-Dirty programming they are in general focusing on the negative impact in the system being developed. Software that is built following a Quick-and-Dirty approach will certainly have some serious deficiencies, which are also called Technical Debt.
However the Quick-and-Dirty approach has a different consequence that is as important as its violation of software design principles: It destroys the morale of the development team. Programmers should be proud of their work, but when they adopt Quick-and-Dirty solutions they are sacrificing their own professionalism.
In one of my first posts in this blog, I claimed that “Nothing is More Effective Than Enthusiasm“. The idea is that the best programmers are always enthusiastic about their work. But working Quick-and-Dirty is actually an enthusiasm-killer. Eventually the developers will become so disgusted with the system they are building that they will prefer to leave the project than trying to fix it.
Doing It Wrong
Besides the suffering caused by intentionally creating a bad product, programmers constantly working in Quick-and-Dirty mode will never have the opportunity to gain experience, improve their skills and actually become professional software developers. As in the quote by Frank Sonnenberg:
“Practice doesn’t make perfect if you’re doing it wrong.”
Worse yet, working Quick-and-Dirty may become a habit. In this case the poor and simplistic solutions may be chosen even when there is enough time to implement a proper design and avoid the creation of Technical Debt. Instead of being an emergency solution, Quick-and-Dirty may become the standard approach.
Unfortunately I think this phenomenon is very common in Agile projects: Programmers are motivated to adopt Quick-and-Dirty solutions to increase their own Velocity and display more progress in the Burn-Down charts. I discuss that in my article “The End of Agile: Death by Over-Simplification“.
In conclusion, if you are a software developer currently working on a project in which most of your work is Quick-and-Dirty, I seriously recommend you should consider finding another job, either in a different project in your company or in another company. Good luck!
What do you think? Do you agree? Please share your experience in the comments below.