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Posted on: Friday, 31 December 2010 by Rajiv Popat

There are times where we (the collective we, involving anyone who has ever been associated with the world of software development) silently enter the unspoken agreement of leaving a few things unsaid. These are what I like to call white lies.

Hope is often the root cause of most white lies.

The developer checks-in the code, hoping that if there is a bug someone from QA will catch it and report it.

The tester rushes through the test cases and then does no ad-hoc testing, hoping that the developer would have written decent code.

The manager provides a push, hoping that if there is an issue the team will let him know.

The team provides a hushed up feedback sugar coated with a truck load of mitigated speech, hoping that the manager will read between the lines.

Hope driven white lies where everyone knows they are fu@#ked but no one says so are dangerous, because 1) you're lying 2) you are paving the path to a perfect text book example of a disaster caused by too many small things going wrong in the right sequence and order.

Irrespective of who you are, a developer, a tester, a graphic designer, a business analyst or a manager, this week, stat by calling bullshit on quite lies. Stop hoping and start doing what you do with passion, conviction and a strong spine.

I wish you good luck.

Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:26:30 UTC
There is another way to see these 'white lies': If everything that could be said or done is too far away from (expected) reality, then you can't do anything about it. As Cicero said "Cum tacent, clamant.", so silence means accusations. However I agree with you that such situations have to be changed with loud voice (and strong spine ad you put it).
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 05:52:41 UTC
Not sure what you mean by "If everything that could be said or done is too far away from (expected) reality, then you can't do anything about it."

Example?

Speaking up is almost never a bad option if you can module your voice and express your opinions articulately. Not saying or doing anything, almost always is a bad option.
Saturday, 08 January 2011 00:12:14 UTC
Sure, I agree with you, but sometimes when what you think is too far away from all that was said, there is no point in saying anything. Anything that would be a bit true would be considered extremely destructive and you would harm yourself. (If the message is too frightening, we are afraid of being lynched as a messenger, so we do not speak.)

There is no point in speaking when

* when the perceived truth is too far away that it could be helpful.

* if the truth would hurt more than the continued deceit.

* when stopping the lie would make you suffer more than continuing it.

(The above are some points I translated from Gunter Dueck, http://www.omnisophie.com/day_65.html who made this point very clear to me.)

I am a "loud" person with a big mouth and usually I say what I think, but it happened to me that I would be silent because

* I already had said it 1000 times and nobody wanted to listen anyway.

* e.g. CEO is presenting something as great (of which I know it's just shit), I wouldn't dare to say the truth.

Hope you get the point what I mean.
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