Make the world better, one line at a time

Building together.
Living together.
Improving together.

The human side of software development.

Applying development practices against every-day life, and applying life lessons to development

This is developer++

I tell my kids all the time to make the world a better place, and it’s something I try to live by as well.  How much better you make it is basically irrelevant, and ultimately out of your control.  People around you choose how to respond, all you can do is provide situations / conversation that are positive.

Did your actions today contribute joy, love, thankfulness, companionship, comfort, and / or peace to someone around you?

Or did you introduce hatred, fear, contempt, sadness, loneliness, and / or jealousy into the world today?

There is great power in the cumulative effect of tiny choices over time.  Doing one small selfish act isn’t going to define who are, just like helping an elderly person cross the street won’t magically turn you into Mother Theresa.

However, by habitually making tiny choices, good or bad, you will be setting yourself down a path, and it eventually does define who you are.

Which side of the line do you want to be on?  Where you are on that scale determines how people interact with you, or even if they want to interact with you.  We’ve already talked about the importance of relationships as it pertains to a developer.

What does this have to do with software development?

The whole concept of making the world better each day can be applied to the code you write as well.

We’re talking about reducing technical debt.  The accumulation of sub-optimal choices over time that ends up slowing down new development as you constantly have to work around and impedes progress of new features.

Why does technical debt happen?

Technical debt happens for many reasons:

    1. Tight deadlines forcing developers to make short cuts
    2. Changing requirements near a deadline
    3. Inexperienced programmer with a poor understanding of the business domain or development tools
    4. Rapid prototyping to meet an aggressive deadline to get a product to market.

What can you do about technical debt?

Whatever your task or new feature, leave the surrounding code in better shape than you found it.

Basically any task involves modifying existing code, so spend a few minutes and do something small to make things just a tiny bit better.

    1. Rename a variable or class to give it more meaningful context
    2. Write a single test outside of your feature / task
    3. Add some documentation (I know, right?!?!)
    4. Do some minor refactoring (make sure you have tests if you do this)

Or just have a conversation and make your team just a tiny bit better.

    1. Show another developer a new technique that they’re not familiar with
    2. Tell someone they did a great job on something
    3. Ask for ideas for an alternate solution to what you were planning to implement

It’s not rocket science, it’s just tiny choices.  You don’t really even have to get out of your comfort zone, just take a minute and make a deliberate decision to make something better.

Your future self will thank you, and the world may even throw a little karma your way too.

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