Wherever you are working, pretend you are going to be there for ever.
This is especially important if you are a contractor.
When you act like you are going to be somewhere forever (and that it’s YOU who is going to be maintaining this software) you behave differently.
You start to write more tests.
You don’t mind creating the occasional support document.
You clean up as you go.
And you are less likely to sweep things under the rug.
You are nicer to people (you are going to be here forever after all).
And you start to care.
Making this attitude a habit isn’t just good for the soul. It’s good for the bottom line.
Contractors who don’t care don’t get asked back.
And nowhere is the world more small than your local IT community.
So start caring. Pretend you are going to be there forever and you’ll naturally act accordingly.
What works equally well is to pretend you are leaving tomorrow. It’s a great exercise if you really do think you’ll be at your company for a long time and will have to maintain the software you create. If you’re leaving tomorrow, what would you fix, document, clean up, or write tests for? Who would you be nice to? We used to call this the “Hit by a bus” effect, but some people liked to use “the lottery winner” effect as the name. It really helped people get that they had to maintain their systems better and not become bottlenecks and share information.
Joe then goes on to quote Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi with:
“Invert, always invert.” – Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi
Continuing, Joe says:
If you haven’t heard of Jacobi, you should check him out. Anyway, basically, all you have to do is think of the opposite of whatever position you are in. Have lots of time? Now pretend you have little. Have lots of people? What if you only had a few? Have only a little money? What if you had a lot? Stretching the constraints in your projects can really help you see new solutions. It’s helped me solve problems countless times for myself and my clients.
Fascinating thoughts if you ask me.