An appropriate level of care

Thumbing through Gerald Weinberg’s The Psychology of Computer Programming (first edition) to verify a quote, I found a snippet that I’d underlined while at college, working for the college computer center.

“[E]ach program has an appropriate level of care and sophistication dependent on the uses to which it will be put. Working above that level is, a way, even less professional than working below it.”

I had no way then of knowing how true that would continue to be, but must have had some inkling of how finding the right level would be a challenge for many years to follow. It’s a challenge for teams and companies as well as for individuals. Companies, especially startups, can wound themselves mortally by shipping a bug-ridden product. And they can burn through time and cash trying to build a “quality” product, when putting something half-baked but “good enough” out in front of customers sooner could have gained vital feedback that the product wasn’t quite right.