July 11, 2014

Chappell's Third Law of Programming

(One from the archives. I wrote this ten years ago. I think it still stands.)

During a conversation the other day with a friend of mine (name withheld to protect the innocent) the subject of software quality came up. My friend was very concerned that raising software quality would be an expensive endeavor. They were quite surprised when I told them that quality does not have to be expensive and that it can be close to free.

"How is this?" you ask. Simple, the truth is that:

Quality is caring.

Software quality is like security, you have to build it in from the initial design. Retrofitting is not an option. The way that you build quality into a system is by caring from day one.

When you care, you consider matters more deeply. Your requirements gathering will be a little more careful. Your system design will be a little more thought through and better researched. Your code will be cleaner. Your testing will be more consistent. Your release process will be followed closely. Everything will be better.

There are some things that you cannot measure objectively and there are many aspects of quality that are subjective. This does not mean that they aren't important and it certainly does not mean that your customers won't notice. Quality is something that shines through and is visible, even when it's not measurable. Delivering a quality system shows that you care, because quality is caring.

Tags: Software Geeky One From The Archives