I have a Ryan home that I had built in 2003. Overall, it’s a nice house, but when you have a contractor erect a cookie-cutter building, they are going to find ways to cut costs. Last weekend, the counter weight spring on my garage door, well, sprung. My wife called a local garage door installation specialist, and he informed us that they see this problem quite often. When the house was built, the contractor installed the cheapest spring they could get. We actually got about five more years out of it than some people do. It cost nearly $700 to replace, but the new one has a lifetime warranty. I would have preferred putting the extra for the quality spring on my mortgage to begin with, but I wasn’t given a choice.
How do you approach designing and building software for your customer or employer? Do you put in the extra time and effort necessary to deliver a high-quality, maintainable product, or do you make compromises to save time, money, or effort—compromises that may result in higher maintenance costs, poorer user productivity, or early obsolescence? I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I’ve been on both ends of that yard stick, but I strive to always deliver the highest quality product I can. Designer’s should be champions of quality, pushing their companies, coworkers, and clients to take the long view.