Does your codebase feel easier to sustain each year?
James Clear is the author of Atomic Habits, who popularized the idea of habits over goals. Last month he shared the rules he uses for running his business, based on his 10-year experience. Among the rules was this one:
Build assets that compound. Eliminate problems, responsibilities, and obligations that compound. Your business should feel easier to sustain each year.
— James Clear (from How I run my business)
"Your business should feel easier to sustain each year." What if, instead of business, we focus on building software? And what if we turn the advice into a question? Then, we get: does our codebase feel easier to sustain each year?
I love that question:
- It reveals the long-term vision of how to approach software engineering.
- It encourages challenging missions to remove complexity and target the important non-urgent quadrant.
- It exposes the murky alternative, that is, descending further into the complexity tar pit.
All in all, I've found that the question brings fresh air and whirls settled dust.