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42928RE: [XP] Do Good Work -- Zen Computer -- refactoring legacy code

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  • Charlie Poole
    Feb 4, 2002

      > The way I see it, when they foist bad code on me, I have a right to
      > spend as much time refactoring ("improving the design of existing
      > code without changing its functionality") as the time I spend adding
      > customer-requested functionality. Up to that 50%/50% split, I say
      > it's a technical issue and I don't ask or tell.


      I do think it could be important to distinguish between the "they"
      who foisted the bad code on you and the customer. In cases where I
      have had to deal with legacy code, the customer didn't generally
      know there were problems.

      I like the 50/50 idea for asking, although I'd be inclined to tell
      the customer at a lower level when refactoring old code is necessary.
      This doesn't apply to ongoing refactoring, since the customer already
      knows the team's practices.

      If there is a choice between telling or not telling the customer about
      anything at all that's going to impact a project, I have learned to tell.
      In some cases, this brings out an issue that I need to deal with.
      I would rather deal with the issue now than face greater problems
      later on as a result of appearing to withhold information.

      Charlie Poole
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