When saying NO can be healthy

After years of coding, learning languages and improving my programming skills I’ve finally made it to a manager position.
I must say I’ve been looking after this for a long time and to be honest it’s been quite a learning experience. Dealing with programmers, clients, resources management and a whole bunch of administrative tasks are now how I spend my days.
The deal is I get payed by an american company to be the IT manager for a mexican company.
After so many years I’ve come to my little theory of why american software products are almost always better than latin ones. We latinos don’t know when to say no. We always say yes to keep the job, making customers believe we will get the job done. Actually we do get the job done but there’s a catch.
For most latins a NO implies losing a customer (and money) and since the customer is always right they must do as the customer wants, even if the customer is asking for something clearly out of scope from the very beginning. The good thing is that they get the job done and the customer gets immediate satisfaction, the bad thing is that while trying to get the job done they loose quality, code gets hardcoded, coding coherence gets lost and little by little the product starts to become unstable and difficult to enhance. The customer sometimes will take long time to realize this and then will become dependant on a low quality software and will eventually drop it and go for a commercial license of some other company. That’s when the latin company will wonder how come another company that was way behind a few years ago is now providing the same functionality and adding more features so quickly while they are struggling a lot to add those same features.
I’ve seen this a lot. Why do this happen?
Simple, it’s all about knowing when to say NO and what a NO implies.
As a mexican if you say NO, that’s it, there’s no action taken, no responsibility is taken and any intention cease to exist. Thus, in order for something to happen they need to say Yes, take a rushed decision and develop a quick poor quality solution that will earn them a client, however as the client request upgrades, changes and new features, the code will become unstable, insecure and as time goes by it will keep getting more and more difficult to maintain causing failures and eventually loosing the customer.
In other cultures (like the american culture) if you say NO it triggers a complete different response. NO triggers a big event where the company identifies an area of opportunity, plans accordingly and develop a stable and upgradeable solution. They might have lost a couple of clients in the road but they will eventually get them back.
The other big catch involves the human resources. Bad planing results in the need for workers to stay overtime, frustrating efforts to satisfy ridiculous promises and a number of employees losing faith and loyalty in the company.
This is the case where a Yes actually can harm you more than a No.
We latins need to learn to do things right. Time spent on planing will result in greater benefits than the time spent in a quick mediocre solution.

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