Stumbling Blocks to Becoming a Better Programmer
Yesterday we addressed some of the pitfalls programmers can face when it comes to productivity. Click here to check out five perils to productivity, and continue reading for more common programming pitfalls and possible solutions.
Pitfall #6: Clinging to the Past
Some companies have practices they continue to drive home, despite how antiquated they may seem. Investing in a healthy dose of the present can increase productivity by allowing programmers to work on new code rather than trying to reformat or jury-rig old code.
Pitfall #7: Guessing the Future
Everyone wants to be at the forefront of innovation, but investing in a technology quicker than the masses can be fatal for the longevity of a company. Waiting for the dust to settle on new technology can not only cut down on costs but it can also improve productivity, as programmers aren’t trying to reformat data to fit the current medium or spending countless hours troubleshooting technical issues the developers haven’t resolved yet.
Pitfall #8: Diva Developers
Among the myriad of personality types that programmers work with, there are the diva developers. Everyone has worked with programmers who take more than they give. They need attention, praise, and accommodation at every turn in order to put in a fraction of the effort they just received. What is the fix? Praise culture over skill and refuse to feed the problem. Stick to your commitment to culture, which may mean coaching up a less skilled coder after the diva leaves for a company that will yield to selfish needs.
Pitfall #9: Technical Debt
For those who don’t know what technical debt is—good for you. Technical debt can best be described as avoiding programming or fixing code when it is hidden from the user or is considered a low priority in the success of an application. As most people can attest, debt can be a necessary evil, but it can quickly swallow your gains if it isn’t managed properly. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to have strong documentation, lay the foundation for flexible functions so they can be evolved later, and take advantage of colleague collaboration. Furthermore, it may be wise for everyone working on the application to understand the application’s process with a focus on the project's future and not just the pressures of here and now.
Pitfall #10: Lone Wolf Coders
Lone wolf coders are free-range coders who claim they can get better results on their own. Sometimes, this pitfall can’t be avoided, especially when a company is small and there is a lot of personal work autonomy. Productivity can be ensured by reigning in structure freedom, ensuring detailed and accurate documentation, and requiring consistent checkins and checkups.
Check back tomorrow for Part 3 of Program Productivity Pitfalls.