Stop, Think, and Tie Your Shoes Right
I was sent a link to a past TED talk about how to tie your shoes. It is worth watching, and from the discussions I have seen on Facebook around the video, it seems that most people do it the "wrong" way. I have actually started to try to do it the "right" way, and the result is real improvement.
Tying the "right" way does make the bands look better. However, it did require a little bit of practice and a conscious effort to change.
Shoe tying is admittedly somewhat away from embedded systems development, but the principle is general. Doing things in a better way requires three things: understanding that there is an issue with how things are done today (bad knots), knowledge of a better way of doing it (good knots), and the time and effort to change your habits (dedication).
In our world of embedded systems, you will always find issues with how things are done. Too slow, too expensive, too many bugs…finding problems is the easy part. What is harder to find are better ways of doing things, and what is really hard to find is the time and motivation to actually effect change.