Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What Do You Value?

I keep coming back to a study that Steve McConnell mentions in Code Complete 2. The study was conducted by Gerald Weinberg and Edward Schulman to study the setting of quality objectives. The table below taken from the book always shocks me.

Objective To MaximizeMinimize MemoryMost Readable OutputMost Readable CodeLeast CodeMinimize Programming Time
Minimum Memory14425
Output Readability51153
Program Readability32234
Least Code25313
Minimum Programming Time43541

Basically, it shows we achieve what we value. But, it also shows that the worst performer on the other metrics was "Minimize Programming Time" and the best overall is "Most Readable Code". I think we should always strive for readable code, but this study shows that the side effects are nice too.

I think sometimes XP shops can get too caught up in miniminizing programming time and thus, lose sight of the quality we should value most. We just need to be mindful and keep our code readable!

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