Resist the ‘quick fix’

综合技术 2018-03-12

I often come across problems that, on the surface, seem like they’d be “quick fixes.” Maybe it’s a bug that could be resolved by tweaking one variable or a new feature that could be added with a change to one branch of a conditional.

When I notice opportunities for quick fixes, I naturally start thinking through the implementation. Popping open my text editor and making the change is tempting. I like coding; it’s a big part of why I’m a developer. Shipping code makes me feel productive. And because I’m almost always working by myself or on a small team with lots of trust and autonomy, nothing’s stopping me from creating a new branch and hacking away.

Most of the time though, resisting the temptation to code the quick fix, and writing a public to-do instead, results in better outcomes.

To-dos take more time upfront but can ultimately lead to less work. A number of times, I’ve shared a to-do and learned that someone else on my team was thinking about a similar problem and addressing both of them at once would be faster and result in a better solution. Other times, I’ve created a to-do about something I think is a problem, but through discussing the to-do, I’ve learned that a change wasn’t necessary after all.

The visibility that creating a to-do brings to a problem extends beyond getting out of extra work. Getting trapped in a cycle of working on quick fixes in a silo can leave me feeling disorganized and others wondering how I’m spending my time. Making a public to-do shows my team where I’m focusing my energy and allows them to contribute when it makes sense.

To-dos move the context of a problem about out of my brain and into a centralized place where others can consider it for their own work. A thoughtful explanation of a problem in prose is more discoverable than a commit message, a comment, or “self-documenting” code. It can also bring more perspectives into the conversation by making the problem accessible to those who otherwise wouldn’t be reviewing a code solution.

Often a “quick” fix isn’t. A few times, I’ve started coding a fix, and as time ticked away, I’ve found myself so deep down a thread in the codebase that I forget about the original problem I set out to solve. The exercise of unpacking a problem in English can shake out nuances about the problem that can prevent journeys down rabbit holes.

To-dos lessen cognitive load, too. While working on one problem, it’s easy to find a handful of other problems, and defaulting to quick fixes would force me to keep all of those in my head. Noting those problems in to-dos along the way and moving back to the original one keeps me focused.

All that said, sometimes, issues pop up that seem like clear candidates for quick fixes. Even though I default to to-dos, sometimes I’ll use my discretion and start by poking at some code. In those cases, timeboxing is helpful. If after 20 to 30 minutes I’m not feeling very close to some sort of resolution, I’ll stop and create a to-do, even if I intend to go right back to working on the same solution.

But most of the time, starting with a public to-do instead of a quick fix turns out better for my code and for the people I work with.

Cover image by Trilok Rangan on Flickr
.

您可能感兴趣的

整洁代码之道——重构 写在前面 现在的软件系统开发难度主要在于其复杂度和规模,客户需求也不再像Winston Royce瀑布模型期望那样在系统编码前完成所有的设计满足用户软件需求。在这个信息爆炸技术日新月异的时代,需求总是在不断的变化,随之在2001年业界17位大牛聚集在美国犹他州的滑雪胜地雪鸟(Snowbird)雪...
PageFair on IAB consent framework: ‘Violates GDPR’... Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a draft version of a General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR )-friendly framework f...
Mindful Code Exercises One of my favorite ways to explore mindfulness is to integrate a mindfulness exercise into an everyday activity—washing dishes, driving a car, eating ...
《软件基础》中文版正式上线 《软件基础》系列(英文版Software Foundations,主要作者Benjamin C. Pierce)主要介绍了可靠软件的数学基础。书籍目前分为《逻辑基础》、《编程语言基础》和《函数式算法验证》三卷本。内容涵盖了函数式编程、逻辑基础、计算机辅助定理证明、Coq 证明助理、编程语言理...
USACO注册以及使用 心血来潮准备试试USACO,毕竟别人的OI题,毕竟有专门的翻译以及题解网站,链接在这: 点击打开链接 。。但在A题的过程还是遇到种种种种的麻烦啊!搜也没有什么有效的回复,终于自己琢磨透之后,还是写下这篇文章吧。 注册 这个网站好像并没有被和...