Friday, 13 April 2012

Trust your developer instinct and experience

That feature you're implementing, that bug you're fixing, that performance improvement you're trying to make...it's using up a fair few brain CPU cycles trying to analyse how best to implement it. Scalability, performance, ease of maintenance, clean code...just some of the things you are mentally scoring your potential approaches against to determine which route to take. And that's without any mention of business domain logic. We've all been in the situation where you start heading down one path only to find a hurdle. It's OK though, you're an athlete (very debatable in my case) - you can jump over that hurdle. So you do. But then you find a 7 foot high wall with barbed wire on top. No problem - you have a ladder and wire cutters; it's a bit unwieldy carrying them around with you everywhere, but hey - over you go. All good. Until you come across Chuck Norris, who is angry about that "Yo' mamma.." joke you made about his mother. That wall you climbed...that was protecting his private property. Your ladder? Oh, that's still on the outside of the wall - you couldn't pull it over with you so you jumped down without it. Brace for pain.

Those voices in your head

There's always unexpected problems and hurdles that crop up. It's all part of being a developer after all. But maybe at the point you got your ladder and wire cutters out to climb over that wall, you heard a little voice inside say "Hmm, this doesn't quite feel right" or perhaps you just felt something niggling away with you about the approach. That voice, your instinct and experience as a developer built up over your career, is worth listening to. When it pipes up, sit back and take 5 to just take a bird's eye view.

Trust that instinct and experience - it's usually right. At the very least, it's highlighting the need to at least re-justify to yourself that you are heading down the right path.

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