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F* it, ship it

by Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

Heroes live on disk, or on movie screens. Real heroes master debugging. When you hear rewrites, you r in for trouble. When uber decided to rewrite its app from scratch (An iOS and Android one), it already sounded like disaster was waiting to happen. Gergely Orosz recounts the launch process against all odds, battling even the legal team.

“An hour later we have some ideas on what’s going on. Two hours later it’s a dead end: we start over. Three hours later it seems like it’s a client-side issue that we need to hotfix. Four hours later, at 6am, we are pretty certain that this bug is not a client-side regression. We can just fix it on the backend: no client changes needed. We have 12 more hours to decide what to do and I’m exhausted. We agree to regroup in 4 hours with a fresh mind, and log off.” …

“For three of us, it works like a charm. Except for one engineer. ” … “Another hour passes, and we’re still not entirely sure what’s wrong with the last edge case. Seems like his account might be compromised.” … “Do we play it safe and debug some more?” … “**** it, ship it.” … “A few people quit during the project, but the majority of resignation notices came after we shipped the app. Many people did not even stick around a few months for March bonuses. Most of these resignations were in the US offices. However, one of my teammates in Amsterdam also quit because of the extreme stress of the project. During these months, working very long hours and over weekends became a norm and strongly encouraged by leadership, burning many people out.”