The most important thing in the project

No project is perfect from the start. Each requires many changes to be successful. The real problems are very complicated. While something seems simple and fits perfectly, it may not be.

I want to present the most critical and unchanging aspect of each project. I am talking about the change. Despite this, we are annoyed when the customer adjusts the requirements. A programmer’s job is to react to changes.

Change is everywhere

Let’s consider the principles of good software. I dare say that they were created precisely to respond to changes.

For example, DRY1 makes it clear: avoid redundancy, reduce repetition, and use abstractions. Changes should be encapsulated in a single, restricted place. They don’t apply to the entire codebase, which makes it easy to change.

SOLID2 also indicates the conscious creation of code ready for changes. Instead of rewriting the entire system, the change is made in isolation. I realize that often “one place” is not entirely true. Minimizing the impact is important here.

The responsibility of testing is to validate the impact of changes. We want to eliminate side effects. We don’t want to screw up something else that should be unrelated.

I like to suggest solutions instead of just creating problems. My suggestion: You can use feature flags to change system behavior. Testers can check the changes before the customer sees them. When everything is ok, we switch the settings, and the client can also see the new version.

Requirements are changing

A lot of people operate using Agile methodologies. The Agile Manifesto3 points out to react to changes instead of following a plan for the customer’s competitive advantage.

Requirements will change. We have to understand and accept this. We cannot be nervous. The client wants to achieve business value. We should think about the project as a way to achieve business value.

Accept a better life

We know that changes are an integral part of the project. We should also try to understand why the change is happening. The origin of the change may affect how it is made. Once we understand the project, we can deliver value better.

The only certain thing is change. We should avoid code that is difficult to modify. Think with business how often a given functionality may change. Some modules (e.g., authorization) may change very rarely. Avoid complications when modules would be modified frequently.

Summary

We do not know the requirements that will appear in the future. So it seems logical to choose simplicity instead of complicated schemes.

The most manageable code to change is the one in our heads. You can change a lot in the early stages. Iterate, analyze, improve. Then modify a code. Not earlier.

What do you think about it? Do you have any insights you want to share? The comments section below is for you!