I first learned about the Broken-Window Principle when I read The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas. The book is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in good coding practices. The Broken-Window Principle teaches that if you start neglecting a building’s maintenance, you have essentially given consent to the building’s ongoing deterioration.

I find this to be true in many aspects of life. I can see it being true with working out, sticking to a healthy diet, etc. Last week I had dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant situated at the San Antonio Riverwalk – Paesanos. Even though it was a bit chilly for Texan standards the terrace was crowed and all the tables filled. By me stood one of those umbrella-shaped gas heaters. Its gas tank was empty and the device didn’t emit heat anymore. To my surprise a waiter who was very busy, and who honestly could have cared less, went ahead and replaced the gas tank. I was pleasantly surprised. No supervisor had given him that order, and no customer had asked him to do so. He just knew the Broken-Window Principle and acted upon it.

Gas Heater

The lesson I am trying to teach here is that you as a business owner and I as a web developer, we all need to care about details. As soon as we see something that is broken or bad-practice, we need to address it. I invite you to think about your business. What is a broken window in your business? What do you do to detect broken windows and do you replace them promptly? Do you turn your head away and tell yourself that you’ll take care of it tomorrow?

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