Fast is Slow and Cheap is Expensive, So Why Are So Many Managers Cheap?

To cut costs, engineering managers often rush developers, impose arbitrary unrealistic deadlines, or in the case of Boeing, outsource engineering to cheap contractors to try to increase production bandwidth.

Boeing’s cultural emphasis on cost savings seems to have trickled all the way down to the engineers working on the 737. One 737 contract software engineer from HCL, an Indian company Boeing outsourced to, illustrates the cost cutting culture on his resume:

“Provided quick workaround to resolve production issue which resulted in not delaying flight test of 737-Max (delay in each flight test will cost very big amount for Boeing).”

Regardless of which systems these engineers worked on, if you foster an engineering culture where developers are made to feel that management values fast and cheap over continuous progress and quality software, that will have a tremendously negative impact on both the quality and the timely delivery of your software. Buggy software takes longer to build.

When management over-emphasizes cost savings, developers feel rushed. When developers feel rushed:

  • Mentorship & reviews halt
  • Bugs pile up
  • Tests get skipped
  • Communication suffers
  • Developers burn out
  • Productivity suffers


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