Workaround is a Four-Letter Word


Today in a meeting I heard: “We can provide a workaround for you” and immediately wrote down the title of this post in my notepad. Obviously, workaround is not a four-letter word in reality, but does have nearly the same meaning as the actual four letter word “hack”. If anybody tells you this, stop them in their tracks and ask them to try again.

How I’ve gone this long without ranting about the overuse and misunderstanding of this word for so long, I’ll never know; I must have had it beaten into my ears for so long it lost its meaning. Don’t confuse this with providing an actual solution to a problem, but by proposing a workaround, you’re really proposing to temporarily fix a problem with up-front knowledge of low quality work.

I’ve heard this word a lot in my career and I’ve decided it now deserves the same feeling of disgust the word “hack” gives me. Hopefully you’re on the same page as me. If you feel that a “workaround” isn’t all that bad, or that it has its place in software development, at least call it what it is.

Obvious Testing or: How I Learned to Stop Using the new keyword