The Sunk Cost Fallacy

Posted on October 10, 2006

..the sunk cost fallacy occurs when you make a decision based on the time and resources you’ve already committed and not on what would be the best way to spend your remaining time and energy.


Unless you’re the Yoda of programming, there’s going to be places where your code becomes unruly. This isn’t always the result of lack of effort (it’s nearly impossible to know exactly what every class or function will be responsible for six months down the road), but what often starts out as a “quick fix” usually ends up a labyrinth of code that has to be relearned each time you visit that problem area. The sunk cost fallacy happens when you continue to add to the inefficient code because you’ve already invested so much time into what’s there and because reworking the code would be a headache. The perspective you should take on the situation is weighing the time you’ll have to spend deciphering and adding to your spaghetti code in the future against how long it’ll take to rework it now.

I'm not (really) a developer, but I've done enough programming to recognise that sunk-cost-fallacy-feeling. I normally begin in the quick-fix phase. Taken from particletree.

Comments (1)

Rood said


Posted by: Rood at October 3, 2007 03:20 PM .