Lying is useful because it is rewarded

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:

Taryn East writes:

I’ve spoken before about how I personally prefer Truth over Harmony, with estimation as a prime example. Mainly because, when it turns out that an estimate was inaccurate… you know who’s going to get the blame for “coming in late”.

And yet I’ve found in the past that if I try for accuracy, the truth is taken as “pessimism” (by comparison with the overconfident, optimistic estimates given by others).

What I found particularly scary (and accurate) was the final quote of the article:

“Thus bosses of software managers take accurate estimates to be a signal of a lack of competence.”

This is not how the world should work :(

What I see in the tech world, over and over again, is that lying gets rewarded. A common scenario I see:

1.) Herb Company selling herbs need an ecommerce website built and asks for bids.

2.) Company A is honest and says it will cost $15,000 and take 2 months.

3.) Company B is dishonest and says it will cost $11,000 and only take 1 month.

4.) Company B gets the bid.

5.) Company B builds the site in 2 months and looks for ways to add in extra fees to the $11,000 contract, because it can’t really live on $11,000 for 2 months of work.

6.) Herb Company is furious at Company B for taking so much time and for trying to add in extra fees. There is much arguing and both sides end up hating each other.

7.) Company B is paid $11,000, or possibly more.

8.) The folks at Company A end up unemployed.

It’s sad but true. Among the other problems that arise, companies such as Herb Company usually lack the skills needed to ascertain when they are being lied to.