Monday, 27 November 2017

The Monica Geller excuse – ‘It’s hard for some people!’

(or “The one with Monica from Friends”)

Ross: Monica couldn't tell time till she was 13!
Monica: It's hard for some people!

(Friends, Season 7, “The One with Rachel’s assistant”)

I was having a conversation with a colleague about transport level security (TLS)

“Should we use Server-only TLS or Mutual (Client and Server) TLS?”

“Mutual’s really hard – let’s do Server-only for now”

“Or we could work out how to do it the right way . .”

“Yep, right: We need to do it properly – especially with security!”

How many sub-optimal architectures, designs and implementations do we have because ‘Something was hard to do’?

This is the “Monical Geller Excuse” – not doing something because ‘It’s hard for some people”.

Don’t confuse being easy to use for the end user, which is a laudable aim, with easy-to-architect/implement/design/develop.

“Who is going to know?” isn’t a reason (See front page of the news web sites when it crashes or gets compromised). You’re building up technical debt either for yourself or those who will come after you.

See also “What are the chances of that ever happening?” (Clue: FMEA is your friend) and “What could possibly go wrong?” (See previous).

A lot of sub-optimal, or ‘bodge’ solutions are used because there is a deadline to hit. IF this really is non-movable then at least log the technical debt and fix it properly.

John F Kennedy said ‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things – not because they are easy, but because they are hard’.

He set a deadline ‘in this decade’. What most people do isn’t rocket science.

If your excuse is ‘It’s hard for some people’ then maybe you need to get better people . . .

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