I had a day off today after a stressful month. So I decided to treat myself to a massage to work out those tense shoulders I've been carrying around. But I saw something before the massage even started that reaffirmed my belief that the little things matter more than we appreciate.
The massage place (which shall remain unnamed) was in an aging office building. It shared the space with other health and beauty businesses, and the massage room had three cubicles separated by curtains. After signing it at reception I was brought to my massage bed and asked to strip to my underwear. The therapist then left me to undress. I then looked up to see an old heat pump unit that was very clogged with dust. I didn't take a photo but it was only slightly better than this:
I was honestly shocked at how dirty it was. I proceeded with the massage but I kept thinking about it while the skilled masseur kneaded and stretched my muscles. There's not much else one can do but think while lying on a massage table!
The next natural thought was, “What other corners are they cutting if they can't find 5 minutes to give the heat pump a wipe down?” That's quite a valid concern when you're half-naked and potentially in contact with what the previous client left behind. This is quite a shame considering the masseur was very talented! But, the little things matter. The simple omission of wiping down the filter regularly has cost them a potential regular customer.
I think back to the world of software development and reflected upon times when the little things mattered. Simple acts like writing code comments, ensuring variables have good names, and writing unit tests do not take much effort but pay huge dividends down the line when someone else debugs your code.