Thursday, September 27, 2012

You Should Care

On development teams, and pretty much all teams, it's not unusual to hear the phrase "I don't care" thrown around. Here are a few examples:

  • "I don't care which solution you go with."
  • "I don't care if you have to take shortcuts, just get it done."
  • "When dealing with abstractions, I don't care about implementation, I just call a method."
  • "I don't care how much load you throw at it, this new caching solution can handle it!"

What do we actually communicate when we say this phrase? It's become so casual and colloquial that most people don't mean anything severe when they say it. But underneath the phrase are connotations of superiority and aloofness that aren't usually intended but often received by the listener.

I decided years ago to drop the phrase from my vocabulary, and replace it with more supportive and descriptive options, such as:

  • "I'm fine with either approach."
  • "At this point, I'm much more concerned about getting this out on time than I am with factoring the code properly."
  • "When dealing with abstractions, I call the same method regardless of the implementation."
  • "With the caching solution in place, we can handle thousands of requests each second."

It's our responsibility to care about things like users, teammates, code, performance, and time to market. I dare you to try replacing this phrase for one week, and see what a difference it makes, both in your attitude and your coworkers' attitudes!

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Dave Leeds
My Hobbies:
  • Programming
  • Cartooning
  • Music Writing
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