Shit Programmers Say, Translated

We all know that product managers speak the same lingo to explain what they actually mean. But software engineers are just as culpable of a common dialect with hidden meaning. Here are eight of the most common programmer sayings, translated.

Disclaimer: I’m a former PM. But with the help of Google SWE Pragya Bajoria, these shouldn’t be too far from the truth. 

1. This will take me a week to finish.

“Yeah that sounds great, I’ll get this done in about a week.”

Translation: I’ll probably get this done within the quarter, maybe the year, but only if you ping me about it persistently.

2. We can’t implement that feature.

“Sorry Pragya, our framework makes it impossible to launch that feature.”

Translation: I really don’t want to do the work to make this feature so it’s easier to just say it’s impossible.

3. Is this a P0/P1?

“I’d love to add the 3-D animation to our settings page, but is this a P0?”

Translation: This isn’t worth fixing right now, and possibly never.

4. I can’t make the meeting.

“Ah, sorry Alex! I can’t make the 3:00PM meeting. Could you send out notes?”

Translation: Please stop booking my calendar with these thirty minute meetings so that you can “update” me on things unrelated to my work.

5. It’s WAI.

“If you turn the phone upside down and shake it three times it crashes? That’s working as intended.”

Translation: I didn’t want to code anything extra, and hey, you never said it wasn’t supposed to work this way. Stands for “working as intended.”

6. I’ll add the tests later.

“Hey Angela, I just finished the code for the major redesign, I’m pushing it now, hoping to add tests in a week.”

Translation: I have a dinner plan right after work today so I’m hoping to leave early, but I still want to make it seem like I did something useful today.

7. I don’t have the mocks for it.

“Ah, I wasn’t able to implement this change — I didn’t have the mocks for it.”

Translation: I was too lazy to ask the designer for mocks because I knew if I did, I’d actually have to finish this action item.

8. Do I get a shirt for it?

“You want me to fix 100 bugs by the weekend? Sure, do you need my t-shirt size?”

Translation: T-shirts are to software engineers as pet treats are to dogs.

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