re: Clean Code, bullshit or common sense? VIEW POST

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The word MVP gets abused a lot in our industry. Early validation of assumptions (e.g. users will use this, this actually works, customers actually will pay for this, etc.) is a valid thing though.

In my experience, most software developed does not get to celebrate a second anniversary. And if it does, extensive refactoring is likely to happen several times in any case. There is a notion of throwaway software. With that in mind, quality is important only in so far as it does not slow you down. Getting stuck doing extensive changes on a shitty code base is bad, of course. However, a cheap, low quality but functional MVP that you ship fast can be replaced easily and give you early feedback on assumptions that you have made about the viability of your product. Engineer for replaceability rather than maintainability. Shipping months earlier ultimately buys you a lot of runway and early revenue that you can use to ship something better later. The longer it takes you to ship the less likely it is to be the right thing.

I've been on more than a few projects where more than half of the features that PMs insisted were absolutely critical eventually were scrapped because they were not needed, redundant, or because users simply don't use them. Engineers like to over-engineer. PMs always want everything and the kitchen sink. And customers always ask for more than is good for them. However, building the wrong thing for the wrong reasons in an MVP means you are shipping the wrong things way too late thus delaying the moment you know the thing is actually viable.

A feature MVP can simply be having a mock button in a UI and measuring if users actually bother to click that with some analytics. Compare that to implementing backend services, investing in devops to deploy, and finally doing the frontend work to hook up the stuff and gradually phasing in the button via AB testing in the hope that users will actually click the button. This stuff is really expensive and there is an enormous amount of waste effort in our industry.

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