Friday, 21 August 2009

Re-Factoring: Tidy away your Tools!

I had a slightly drunken chat with my good friend Paul on Wednesday night and told him the analogy I have for re-factoring being the software development equivalent of the 5S Seiso (Shine) mantra:
"Re-factoring is tidying away your tools at the end of the day"
He liked it, and saw it as a useful way of communicating our intent when we insist we need scheduled time for re-factoring to our managers and stakeholders. So often the word "re-factoring" conjures up images of costly re-writes of large portions of the code for no perceived gain and this is partially our fault for misusing the word when we should have said "re-write" in the first place. So ask anyone reticent to commit to any amount of re-factoring effort:
"Would you be happy if accounts didn't put anything back in filing?"
"Is it be OK for engineering drawings to be left covered in construction lines?"
"Can kitchen staff let the washing up pile up until the end of the month?"
You could even ask them how often they would ask their children to tidy their rooms, but that's maybe a step too far!

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