Powers of Two

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Robin Rendle on

Refactoring is one of those words that evokes fear in the eyes of many folks, from developers to product owners and everyone in between. It may as well be a four-letter word in many ways. It’s also something that we talk about quite a bit around here because, like books on the topic, where to start with one, and the impact of letting technical debt pile up.

Ben Rady has thoughts on refactoring as well, but in the context of pair programming:

We pair for about 6 hours a day, every day. Everything that’s on the critical path is worked on in a pair. Always. Our goal is always to get the thing we’re working on to production as fast as we responsibly can, and the best way I’ve found to that is with a pair.

Ben then dives into the process of working alongside others and how to ship software with that approach, a lot of which I think relates to front-end development best practices, too. But I also love how punk rock this team is, as they appear not to develop software with a backlog or a ton of meetings for managing their projects:

No formal backlog. We have three states for new features. Now, next, and probably never. Whatever we’re working on now is the most valuable thing we can think of. Whatever’s next is the next most valuable thing. When we pull new work, we ask “What’s next?” and discuss. If someone comes to us with an idea, we ask “Is this more valuable that what we were planning to do next?” If not, it’s usually forgotten, because by the time we finish that there’s something else that’s newer and better. But if it comes up again, maybe it’ll make the cut.

I wonder how much time a year they save without having to argue about stories and points and whether this one tiny feature is more important than this other one. Anyway, I find all of this stuff thoroughly inspiring.

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