Making good sour dough requires patience. The starter takes 4 days to let the yeast and bacteria ferment the flour. Modern bread making methods use yeast cultured specifically for the process, producing carbon dioxide quickly from the flour. The downside is you lose out the acids produced by the bacteria and a host of other products like antioxidants and phytic acid, which help produce bread with great flavor and health benefits.

We strive for speed as we are conditioned to believe that being fast is a good thing. As we become wiser, we realize that going against our intuition by taking some things slowly may sometimes be more effective. How so? Programmers tend to rush through things that are important - let me show you some examples.

Design

Programmers love to start coding immediately, without understanding the problems we are trying to solve. Touching your favorite IDE or text editor should be the last step in the process of solving a problem.

Another problem with being hasty is that we tend to focus on the detail and forget that our work has to interact with code written by other people. Have you agreed on the API? Has enough investigation gone into understanding the framework that is already there? Are you following the coding conventions of your group? These are important, but we tend to forget them in the haste to roll out a solution.

Doing it the right way

Marketing wants it rolled by yesterday. Despite looming deadlines, keep the ‘Code of the Coders’ in mind and don’t write stuff that makes you cringe as you type it in. Take a moment to recollect the many such moments that you have faced. Now repeat after me, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing it right (Conditions Apply)”.

The suits are by nature short-sighted when it comes to the implementation of the product. They have a customer to satisfy and revenue projections to meet. They don’t know the implementation enough to take a call on whether the duct tape has to be used or a sledgehammer. It is your job to think through and push back on deadlines if they require sloppy coding. When the hack you did to roll out a feature breaks things one week down the line, you will have to fix it. So you have talk to the marketing team and convince them. Tell them why it will take time and you will find them surprisingly receptive.

Now, this is a bold enough statement to come with caveats. You have to take a call sometimes on if a hack is actually good enough in the situation. It is foolish to always dismiss hacks as being counter-productive in the long run.

Occasionally, the duct tape is all you really need. The tough thing is to know the difference on when to hurry along and when to stop and smell the flowers. Slow and steady does win the race sometimes and here’s hoping you enjoy the race!