Tuesday, March 02, 2004

All hail YAGNI

Wading into the YAGNI discussion, my current client would be much better served by YAGNI than "plan for the future". Why? Who knows the future at a Fortune 100 business? Buyouts. Changing requirements. New management, sometimes several times during the same year. Changed IT environments. Trying to plan for that is a guarantee that you will discard a large amount of expensive work. It is cheaper and better engineered to refactor and design iteratively than to spend large chunks of the front of your project on planning and heavy design. Worry not about change, but about ever making it to delivery. Did I mention cancelled projects among the risks?

If you are stuck in hostile territory and cannot refactor freely, you are forced to increase risk even further and plan up front as much as possible—you only get one swing at the ball when this happens to you, so you have to aim for the bleachers each time. Of course, this means you strike out far more often than need be, but a client opposed to refactoring gets what's coming to them.

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