Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

    Paradigm shifts - where agile development fails

    As some of you perhaps know, I'm developing a twitter client and have been for a while. Because I've always been extremely eager to get something useful out quickly as possible and because an important factor in development has always been to accomodate user requests there was really only one development process that could work for me - agile development.

    Because I need to be able to respond to requirement changes quickly and because it has to be developed fast I can't make a design very far in advance and consider it a static robust structure that I have to adhere to. Doing it like that I still wouldn't have anything developed and would most probably still be planning like a maniac. However, there were two very painful times in the process, both would be completely averted with a rigid design structure and both are a direct result of being agile.

    Paradigm shifts - where agile development completely fails. See because of being agile I made a product, a working product that worked lovably well. Then I decided I wanted it to support having more than one user logged in at a time. Yay, paradigm shift. This is the point where I had to rework most of the code to send user id's around, store them in objects etc. Overall, a great deal of work making sure everything now works for more than one user at a time, because the previous version was made to work for just one user and was built around the idea that at any point in code the user is globally known and the code can count on that.

    Well that changed. A lot of work to change it.

    Next such large paradigm shift was two weeks ago when I decided it was time to make a protocol abstraction layer and support koornk as well as twitter. Easier said than done! At first I thought I could get away with just putting an abstraction layer object that behaves as a thin wrapper around protocol specific objects that deal with calling the API and converting results into a common form.

    But then, you can't guarantee user id's will be unique across different APIs. Large change. Then, you can't guarantee message id's will be unique across API's. Another large change. Then you can't call everything tweeting, because sometimes the more appropriate status report is clucking and so a bunch of little things need to be changed to fully abstractify an application from an API it was tightly coupled with.

    So to conclude, paradigm shifts are a very difficult and painful process and they only occur when you're staying agile.

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Published on February 3rd, 2009 in Uncategorized,

    Learned something new?
    Read more Software Engineering Lessons from Production

    I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.

    Subscribe below 👇

    Software Engineering Lessons from Production

    Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.

    "Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"

    ~ Ashish Kumar

    Join 15,883+ engineers learning lessons from my "raw and honest from the heart" emails.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
    4.5 stars average rating

    Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.

    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

    Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev

    Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Want to get my best emails on JavaScript, React, Serverless, Fullstack Web, or Indie Hacking? Check out swizec.com/collections

    Want to brush up on modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog

    Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️

    Created by Swizec with ❤️