When you 'cut corners,' you use less effort, money, time, or resources than is necessary, and ignore standard rules or skip steps of a process. The result is not only something low in quality, it can also be illegal, particularly if someone was to do a deliberately poor job of building or repairing something that could endanger people's lives if it were to malfunction. Doing something badly or cheaply shows laziness or complacency, and therefore the term is almost exclusively used in a negative sense. It tends to be more common in a professional context but is used in a social one too. Phrases with a similar meaning include 'scrimp on,' 'take shortcuts,' and 'half-assed approach.'