On dishwashers and development.

Around 1976 a great thing happened in the house I would come to purchase in June of 2013. A KitchenAid KDI-18 was installed. Those with a penchant for vintage appliances believe this is one of the greatest home dishwashers ever made. Their spouses generally believe they are too loud.

Mine gave up the ghost recently. I could have saved it, but it was the dishwasher or the marriage. I went with a Bosch SHXN8U55UC. It’s whisper quiet. Like all German Dishwashers it has no heating element, but is engineered to produce smaller water droplets that evaporate quicker. Its gets the water hotter than the more expensive Mieles. It has a sanitize mode so I don’t have to take an extra step to sterilize my infant’s bottles and pacifiers. It uses very little water and is incredibly energy efficient. It’s like comparing a 1976 Cadillac DeVille to a modern BMW 7 series.

The cost of this efficiency is time. A cycle takes 2:09 and if you add sanitizing it climbs to 2:30. There is a save time function that takes an hour and change as well as a 30 minute express function. In addition to all this, there is the temptation to overload the dishwasher and pack things too close together. If you are not careful something might slip below the tray or be too high. Then a wash arm won’t rotate. All of these things means your dishes don’t get as clean.

This is very similar to software development. Putting too many things on the schedule or cutting back the delivery time frame might work in the short term. However, it means a more fragile result. Once I notice one dish is still dirty when unloading the dishwasher, It slows down my whole unloading process. I lost confidence in the operation of the machine. If I have to hand wash a dish it uses a lot more energy and a lot more of my time. Time I could better spend doing a DIY project around the house. I’m not a great handyman, but I’m the most talented handyman and tradesman on staff at my house. When I’m taken off my home improvement duties to deal with dishes that are not perfectly clean, it costs the house in materially significant ways.

So folks in conclusion, run your dishwasher on their full cycles unless its a very light load. Don’t let the dishes touch each other. Observe how well your dishwasher performs. Think about this next time you want an estimate cut and a schedule moved left.

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