Saturday, May 30, 2009

Make it easier to do the right thing

Last year, I got a chance to work in India for 6 months. It was an awesome experience. I never had so much fun working. Something simple and thought provoking happened when I was there that I want to share.

I went to watch a movie with my friend. The theater was awesome. It was a multi-screen theater in a mall. We got our drinks and all set to watch a mindless hollywood movie. After the movie, my friend left his drink cup in his seat. I told him that it is not the right thing to do and we should not liter like that. He was like "oh don't worry about it". I carried my drink cup, I did not want to leave it in my seat. I was expecting there will be trash can outside the theater door. To my surprise, I did not find a trash can. I spend like 5 minutes looking for a trash can.

This is a very simple incident, but it teaches us an important thing. It is not that people want to do the wrong thing. They are just doing what is easy. In this incident , leaving the cup in the theater is an easier choice than spending 5 minutes looking for a trash can.

Lets take a software project. If it is very difficult to write automated tests, developers will eventually will stop writing tests. I can think of so many things like this. If it is taking a long time to run a build, developers will eventually start checking in code without running the build.

So in a software project, We should make sure that doing the right thing is easier than doing the wrong thing.

No comments: