Dare to say no

Also known as

First, do no harm.


In software engineering, not everything is possible.


As a software engineer, you are a skilled professional with knowledge, experience and expertise in software development. As such, you can judge when something might be possible ("if we work flat-out we might just be able to hack it together in time...") but would simply be bad ("...but it sure will be one unmaintainable, ugly beast of a piece of code."). Don't allow your software to cause you sleepless nights.


Don't let yourself be pressured into committing to delivering features that simply cannot be delivered to the standard of quality you, as a professional, regard as necessary. If the Product or business owner says that there "must be a way", that there must be some corners you can cut or tests you can skip, ask them if they would trust a surgeon who would happily skip the disinfection in order to save 10 minutes.


Software engineers pride themselves on solving problems and "doing the impossible". This can lead to the expectation that there is always a way. Prepare to push back in such environments, and remember that as a professional yours is an expert opinion that cannot simply be ignored by a business owner without serious consequences for you both.


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