Software re-writes: It’s complicated

In my previous post I wanted to describe a re-write culture or concept that I wish would be more prevalent. In some cases it’s not the business, but the engineers that won’t do re-writes. There are all kinds of excuses you might hear when even the thought of re-writing software comes up.

  • No time
  • It works as it is
  • I didn’t write it originally
  • It’s really complicated
  • Business didn’t ask for it

For me personally I don’t understand any of those. There is never time to do something over again, but inevitably we do. It’s easy to say that the current software works, but business is always going to want something new and that has the potential to make current software not work. And to simply cast away the re-write due to complexity or ownership of the code is just beyond me – I don’t know how to parse that.

I believe that there is always a re-write coming. Almost everyday. It’s always complicated. It would be easier if software writers just accepted it better.


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