Prototypes Live Forever

Code always lives longer than you want it to.

So often as developers, we're writing code under the gun. Just get it working. We have a deadline. We'll come back and fix this later.

Something I've learned through experience is that prototypes go into production. No one wants them to, but they do, 99% of the time.

That thing that you wrote that you rushed, that you're embarrassed to put out into the world—that thing will be in production, probably for a long time. Future developers, maybe long after you've moved on, will be reading it over and over, wanting to change it but being too afraid because it works, and it's been like that for a long time.

Code ossifies, the temporary becomes permanent. That next sprint where you're going to come back and clean up that code never comes. 

What does that mean for the daily practices of the software engineer? Do the little things now that can make your code better. Before the end of the sprint, before you've marked the ticket as "Ready for QA", before you've told anyone it's "done", before the pull request is merged. Give that variable a better name. Write one more (or just one) unit test that covers the basics. Split this class into two. Write a comment. Leave one more bit of feedback on that pull request. 

There are generations of developers that are counting on you. They'll be living with the shortcuts of today for years to come. I promise.