Friday, 11 September 2009

YAGNI - It all Connects

connection Everything in software connects. Here a common thread that connects the following agile? principles:

YAGNI - You Aint Gonna Need It.

YAGNI is referred to the fact that most time in software development its useless to try and think ahead since most of the time we just don't really know if we are going to need this or not. as Ron Jeffries puts it:

"Always implement things when you actually need them, never when you just foresee that you need them."

KISS - Keep It Simple (Stupid)

Which is the same as saying do "The simplest thing that could possibly work" we use this phrase when we want to emphasize that simplicity in software has usually much more value than we initially think.

There is no one perfect design

I'm not sure this has anything specific to agile. But this one has been gnawing at me for quite some time. Too many times I've been in design sessions were people were deeply arguing about whose design was the best, when clearly they were all good enough. While clearly there is such a thing as good and bad design. Mostly its a matter of context. Every good design is aimed at allowing a certain type of change to be easy. However by doing so, many times, it makes other types of changes harder.

So how do all these three connects?

If we accept the fact that there is no one perfect design and each design is best suited to a given type of change, and we also accept the fact that we lack the gift of vision, so in most times we fall into the YAGNI principle. We are left with the conclusion that we must do "The simplest thing that could possibly work". Even if at that point of time the resulting design doesn't look great. That's OK. If and when we will need to apply changes, then we will know exactly what type of change is required. And only then we shall evolve the design (by Refactoring) to cleanly accommodate that type of change (which is most likely to happen again)

(I would like to thank Uncle Bob, that in his talk about SOLID design in NDC has helped realize how these principles close the circle)


Olof Bjarnason said...

Thanks for a great read! I had many "deja vu"-feelings reading it ;)

My three "dogmas" are:


I like you "there is no perfect design" too. Might add it to my list.

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