Henrik Sommerfeld

There Are Only Temporary Solutions

Women with post it notes in wall

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

This is a reflection from an earlier job I had. It was at one of those large enterprises with monthly deploys and a development process documentation taking up 5 meters on a wall.

For 8 years, consultants from one of the largest IT companies, had failed to deliver a company-wide identity solution (authentication/authorisation) that fulfilled the requirements. It was emphasised how important is was that this was done right (opposite to fail fast). This became more and more frustrating, as it was holding back many other initiatives that needed a unified user management solution. So, one day two of our team members had enough and spent a sprint on investigating an alternative solution.

A solution was presented that would take a few weeks to implement. With a lot of scepticism, we got an approval to go ahead with this alternative solution under the condition that it should only be considered a temporary solution. This was emphasised a lot, a temporary solution.

It got me thinking: as opposed to what? ๐Ÿคจ A permanent solution? ๐Ÿ˜ฒ A permanent software solution? ๐Ÿคฃ Seriously?

There are only temporary software solutions!

There are only temporary software solutions! Or rather, solutions that will be used until they are replaced with something else. I guess it might make sense to talk about temporary solutions when we have a plan to replace it, with what and by when. In other words, a deliberate technical debt.

Next time a colleague talks about a temporary solution, I will be better prepared to challenge him or her with what he/she actually mean.

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