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perspective Technology

Crossing the Line

There’s always a line waiting to be crossed. Morally, technically, physically. With whatever we do, or can do, there will be a line. And some of us will cross that line just because we can. It doesn’t mean though that we should.

We can cram a plethora of features into any software product. Doesn’t mean we should.
We can add layers of indirection into our architecture to push the boundaries of decoupling. Doesn’t mean we should.
We can implement [insert pattern name here]. Doesn’t mean we should.
We can deprive ourselves of sleep and turn a 4 day project into a 2 day delivery. Doesn’t mean we should.
Just because we can, it doesn’t mean we should.

Too many decisions are implemented based on what we can do. Usually there is some discussion about what is possible and what is not. Wether or not it makes sense, is not beside the point but can certainly be diluted by confusion amidst emotional rhetoric. And then after all is said and done, there being no obvious agreement, a public opinion poll is held. Oh behold the saviour of our modern thought process: public opinion. It has been said that public opinion is no substitute for thought. Behaviour beg to differ.

Of course, the problem with lines is that we often don’t know what the other side is like or where that line was actually drawn. It’s only once we’ve crossed it, do we realise that we’ve crossed it. At such times, realization and prompt action can help alleviate any problem caused by being on the wrong side. It does take some courage; different to bravado which is usually what crosses the line in the first place. Itself, another line: bravado and courage.

Recognising where the line is and if it’s worth crossing is a valuable skill. It’s the difference between profit and loss. Value and gimmick. Genius or just clever. Working hard or working smart. If there’s one soft skill your team can encourage, it’s line detection.