That’s not what I said, but I’m sure that is what they heard.
When I was asked point blank what I thought was wrong, I told them. I probably said something about eXtreme Programming or the craftsman movement, but that wasn’t what was heard. Worse yet, I interpreted the look on their faces to mean that they didn’t hear me, instead of that they didn’t understand why I would say it. I heard about the discussion for weeks.
When this happens again, since I’m sure that it will, my gut reaction is to hold up a figurative mirror and encourage them to come to their own conclusion. Something like “I think code that is difficult to work on, constant interruptions for bug fixes, and dependence on the Quality Control group all have the same cause. What do you think? What do you think that cause could be?”
I know they are wonderful engineers with bright futures, and I hope they do too.
How do you approach a request for the bottom line?