The Boy Scout Rule

I’m going to tell you a little bit about something that seems so straightforward, common sense even. But still, it’s a principle that can give a beginning developer like myself some pause.

What is the Boy Scout Rule?

Well it’s simple: always leave the campground cleaner than you found it.
When developing it means if you see something sloppy, iffy or plain wrong, you should fix it.

But where do you draw the line?

It’s easy to lose oneself in the code trying to fix every little thing you find. You want to do good, you want to help and take pride in your work.

But I’ve noticed it’s important to find a balance. In my short time at Jidoka, I’ve had several days where I seemingly did not get anything done because I got sidetracked on an issues or technical debt we discovered.

So what's the solution?

Sadly I don’t have any clear cut answer for you, only some guidelines that were bestowed upon me by my colleagues:
You should always keep your sights on the task you set out to complete in the first place. 

If the issue you encountered is in any way related to your current ticket, you should definitely fix it.

If it’s a quick fix, don’t think twice and just fix it.

But if you notice after an hour or so you’re going deeper into the rabbit hole, get out before your stuck. Add a TODO or better yet, create a new ticket to pick up at a later, more convenient time. This also opens up room for discussions with your coworkers who might already have a solution in mind for it.

It’s one of those things only experience and a few wrong choices can teach you.
And don’t be shy to ask advice from those around you, they’ve all been there.

Oh yeah, and always remember:

Life is short, smile while you still have teeth…

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