Saturday, May 15, 2010


Delta kitchen faucets have a very clever quick-release attachment for their sprayer hose. It uses a couple of pieces of plastic and a spring clip to hold the hose onto a special fitting on the underside of the faucet, with a bushing to make a water-tight seal. To install the hose, all you have to do is slide it over the fitting until you hear it click into place. I'm sure that I appreciated that cleverness five or six years ago when I installed the faucet; it's always painful to deal with threaded fittings under the sink.

Unfortunately, I don't remember much about installing the faucet (trauma can have that effect). So when the hose started leaking a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a generic replacement hose at Home Depot, grabbed a flashlight and basin wrench, and threaded my body around the garbage disposal. And spent nearly half an hour trying to figure out how to remove the hose, with its non-standard attachment mechanism. And then spent another hour driving to Home Depot to find an adapter, only to be told that they didn't have one and I'd have to call Delta. I dreaded this call, but ended up with a very pleasant support rep, who put in an order for a free replacement.

When the new hose arrived, it only took a few minutes to install. Yet I can't help but thinking that this special fitting actually cost me several hours, versus the fifteen minutes for a standard threaded fitting. Not to mention a week's worth of annoyance, wiping up leaked water every time I used the faucet.

The lesson for software development should be obvious: clever tricks can save a lot of time in the short term. But unless you remember how they work, they'll probably cost you — or someone else on your team — more in the future.

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