Bad Code Stalls Developer Velocity
Today’s software development teams are under pressure to move fast and deliver code on aggressive schedules. With increasing competition, software providers are rolling out more new features and products — more quickly than ever before to stay ahead of their rivals. As a result, deadlines are getting tighter. Meeting these deadlines is often the priority, even if it means that code quality suffers.
Without standards for code quality and with mounting pressure to complete the project at hand, it can be easier to let bad code linger in the codebase for the sake of speed. But that approach is ultimately self-defeating. It slows down the entire development cycle while also hurting product quality and creating security issues.
Bad Coding Is Slow Coding
The speediness of poor coding is an illusion in the long run. When bad code gets overlooked, it creates technical debt that leads to lasting problems and ends up dragging down developer velocity. Remediating past coding errors is a cumbersome, time-consuming process. It’s much more difficult to fix errors from months or years ago than it is to correct them in real time. To diagnose why code isn’t working, you need context — you have to understand what that code’s purpose was to begin with. The older the code is, the harder it is to uncover that information. What if it was written by a developer who left the organization years ago?
The technical debt from bad code means that developers are frequently interrupted. As developers create new code, they’re constantly forced to stop their work to mitigate flaws in existing code. This is also known as context switching — jumping between projects — in this case, writing new code and fixing old, flawed code. Context switching is highly inefficient.
It’s not just developer velocity that suffers from bad coding. Errors hurt performance, create vulnerabilities and ultimately destroy the end-user experience. Security is a particular concern here: In addition to creating vulnerabilities, poor code means that security teams must spend the bulk of their time fixing smaller, low-level bugs rather than performing more advanced analysis and testing that would find bigger errors.
There are several statistics that illustrate how bad code hampers developer velocity. On average, developers waste 17.3 hours per week due to technical debt and bad code. Forty percent of a developer’s daily tasks are interrupted or require context switching, and 29% of those tasks are never resumed. Perhaps the most telling number comes straight from the horse’s mouth: 55% of developers say that if they didn’t have to spend so much time fixing bugs, they would build more new features and functionalities.
The Clean as You Code Answer
Embracing a Clean as You Code approach is the best way for development teams to deliver quality, bug-free code while still moving swiftly. Clean as You Code is a methodology that enables developers and organizations to optimize the quality of their codebase by ensuring that all added or changed code adheres to clean code standards. This means that potential errors are flagged as code is being written, and developers correct them in real time.
This approach progressively improves the overall quality of the entire codebase with minimal cost and effort. It ensures that there are no new issues introduced as code is delivered, eliminating the need to spend time remediating bad code and minimizing the likelihood of any performance issues or other bugs in the codebase. Freed from the burden of context switching and dedicating cycles to fixing old, sloppy code, developers can focus entirely on creating exciting, innovative features and products.
A Clean as You Code methodology significantly improves code security, as the approach enables development teams to truly shift left — to move the security process as early into the coding process as possible. Cleaning as you code achieves just that, bringing security into the picture as code is being written.
A Clean as You Code approach is simple to adopt and can be easily implemented at scale. With the right Clean as You Code processes in place, secure, high-quality code can be written just as quickly as messy code.
Optimize Developer Velocity
As more organizations prioritize developer velocity, that velocity comes at the expense of code quality. Development teams eventually get bogged down fixing old code and managing technical debt, defeating the very purpose of fast coding cycles. Embracing a Clean as You Code methodology is the only way to deliver quality code quickly, steadily and without having to constantly backtrack to remediate old errors.