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What if code-smells were counted as defects?

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  • Brad Appleton
    I ve been thinking a bit about some of the difficulties Ive seen myself and others having in getting organizations and management to appreciate (and hence
    Message 1 of 229 , Jan 19, 2009
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      I've been thinking a bit about some of the difficulties Ive seen myself
      and others having in getting organizations and management to
      "appreciate" (and hence value) the importance of ensuring effort is
      spent to combat "software entropy" (a.k.a. "technical debt"). If there
      were a better appreciation of the value in making the code easy to
      change (or better yet, of the waste in not doing so), many organizations
      that otherwise have a very healthy attitude about having virtually zero
      defects might be able to be "agile" and "make it stick"

      So I wonder (and I may just be deluding myself here, but I feel obliged
      to ask anyway), "what if code-smells were counted as defects?". What
      refactoring opportunities that were seen and missed/deferred were
      counted as "bugs" if they were allowed to longer longer than an
      iteration (or even just into the "next" build?)

      Would this simply create a category of "bugs" that was summarily
      ignored, with very low-priority, and eventually dismissed and not tracked?

      Or is there some scant hope in creation that maybe, just maybe, treating
      these linger "code-smells" as "time bombs" or a "mine-field" and
      counting them on a defect-backlog might help yield the attitude
      necessary to "stamp them out" and eliminate them? What if, when I saw a
      code-smell in the code, that instead of "fixing-it" or "doing nothing",
      my only "acceptable" options were "fix it" or "enter it the defect
      backlog" (which I should of course be trying to keep down to "zero")? So
      that if I didnt resolve it right then and there, my only valid recourse
      was to make it visible, and counted with all other such bugs, perhaps
      classified as a defect in the system's maintainability, modifiability or
      serviceability?

      Could this be possible, or am I just "smokin' somethin'". Even if it is
      the latter, how might others be encouraged to do the same?

      --
      Brad Appleton <brad {AT} bradapp.net>
      Agile CM Environments (http://blog.bradapp.net/)
      & Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
      "And miles to go before I sleep" -- Robert Frost
    • Brad Appleton
      ... I was having similar thoughts :-) ... It s the Find a willing team piece that I need to tackle first. I need to be a bit careful how I do it because I
      Message 229 of 229 , Feb 2 11:28 AM
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        Charlie Poole wrote:
        > It occurs to me that while we all discuss the goodness (a few
        > folks) and badness (more, it seems) of this idea, you could
        > just be trying it in some controlled way.

        I was having similar thoughts :-)

        > Find a willing team to experiment on, set up a time frame and
        > decide how to determine if it works.

        It's the "Find a willing team" piece that I need to tackle first. I need
        to be a bit careful how I do it because I already lost some "creds" in
        the first battle and now have the "perfectionist fanatical zealot"
        filter I have to break thru when trying to find such a team. And if it
        does turn out badly, that will do even more damage. I'm not sure I want
        to risk that unless I think there is at least a decent chance it will work.

        I guess my own professional interests would be best-served if I didnt
        try to intervene and wait until they fall on their face (even if it's
        not what is best for the business [sigh])

        --
        Brad Appleton <brad {AT} bradapp.net>
        Agile CM Environments (http://blog.bradapp.net/)
        & Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
        "And miles to go before I sleep" -- Robert Frost
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