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Never Make Your Code Worse/Only Degrade Your Code Intentionally

Existing code degrades one bit at a time (no pun intended). We suggest that team members do their best to not take shortcuts that makes their code worse. Sometimes this is difficult, however. It may be that legacy code makes it very difficult to add functionality properly without harming your code. To be realistic, we restate "Never make your code worse" to "Only degrade your code intentionally." Although this may sound funny, the alternative would be to make your code worse unintentionally.

One way to only degrade your code intentionally is to ensure you consider alternatives. One way to do this is to make a teamwide agreement that if developers can't figure out how to make a change without degrading code, they will tell another team member of the change they are thinking of making before they make the change. Note that we are not requiring getting permission or even getting a better result. We're just suggesting you tell someone. This forces you to at least reflect a little. Our experience has shown us that a person will stop just short of a good solution because he or she is willing to do the first thing that comes to mind. Our approach forces people to think about things a bit more (sometimes a lot more because they don't want to admit to coworkers that they don't have good solutions).

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