Asier's thoughts

Blogging about software development

Judge the code, not the developer

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I’ve been paying attention recently to conversations we have at work. I can hear people complaining about the code, how bad it is, not readable, difficult to make changes.. They will refer to the people who wrote it. And I do it too! Even if we don’t know who wrote it. It doesn’t matter, is ‘us’ and ‘then’.

  • They wrote this crazy stuff.. why??”
  • somebody had this idea of creating this hierarchy of classes. Look now, how can we extended this class without affecting this other??”
  • “look, a developer added an extra call to the service here. This is making our application not to perform well.”

We are judging the people, instead of the code. This just creates tension between co-workers. It creates a difference between the person who wrote the ugly code and us. We are kind of saying they don’t know how to write code, do they job properly.. ultimately we are just saying they are inferior and that we are better than them. We judge them.

We can just change our aptitude if we detach the code from the people.

  • “this crazy stuff.. why??”
  • “this hierarchy of classes. Look now, how can we extended this class without affecting this other??”
  • “look, there is an extra call to the service here. This is making our application not to perform well.”

We would still be stating the same thing: the code is bad, not readable, difficult to make changes.. BUT we won’t be judging people, our co-workers, our team mates. We will be all in the same boat seeing the same problems and ultimately fixing them together.

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