“Garbage in, garbage out” seems to generally understood, but how often do we wish it wasn’t true? If the results are related to the effort we put into something, then we should take responsibility and reflect on what we can do differently when we don’t like the outcomes we’re getting. Bye-bye, blame and justification—those won’t help here! We see the impacts of garbage in, garbage out in software often:
- Don’t like the quality of your software product? How are teams trying to bake quality in rather than add it at the end?
- Don’t like the features that have been delivered? How are requirements being communicated?
It doesn’t end there. Don’t like interacting with a particular coworker? How are your actions contributing to the situation? Yeah, that’s right—the problem isn’t solely on the other person. There’s an issue within the relationship, which means you can make changes to improve it. And that can be really hard. We want to stay in our comfort zone, even if it means being a victim. We don’t feel strong enough to make the change, whether it’s behaving differently or saying our truth to the other person. Or the possible benefits don’t outweigh the perceived effort on our side. It's ok to not change as long as you realize the impacts.
So the hard truth is that we might be getting the results we deserve, whether we like them or not, and changing the results requires work that we may or may not be ready to do. But being a professional means recognizing the part we play in the world around us.