Things I Learnt The Hard Way - Nothing More Permanent Than A Temporary Solution

1 minute read Published: 2019-07-29

Depending on where you look, "Nothing more permanent than a temporary solution" is either an old Russian proverb or a quote by Milton Friedman. Thing is, temporary solutions, unless you think about the future to fix them, will become permanent.

A temporary solution may appear either as a proof-of-concept or due some restrained deadline. You may create perfect system specs, you may have a perfect understanding of the whole in your Gherkin files but, at some point, you'll put some small script to fix a minor problem, or do a "not so good" solution to a point due to deadlines.

This happens and unless you take steps to get rid of those, you'll end up with a bunch of spaghetti code pretty fast. And that will snowball to a point that you won't be able to manage the project.

Once a scrum master suggested that we came with an idea to our product manager to do something akin to "Every three sprints, we'll focus on product value; the fourth one is ours to fix the things that are annoying us". I don't think we ever talking to the product manager about this, but we managed to open issues on our ticket system about the small warts we left behind, specially due deadlines. So there we had, a specially crafted bug type for "technical debt" which we never actually took the time to fix.

Unless you have a pretty good safety net to fix those, they will life forever. And it may be a better option to tell "we can't deliver in time" than adding (yet another) temporary solution, as hard as it is to convince the higher ups that you can't deliver the product with a temporary solution.

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