Shaping what you build

Posted by Jake on 4 July

So you have the task of building an application for an existing product. The product isn't amazing and building this app is going to take time. You're not overly excited. It's just another app...

I'm quite confident that the above rings true for many developers that have been in the workforce for more than a couple of years.

At times like this it's easy to go with the flow, to plod along with the daily grind and one day hopefully see the application on its merry way, and maybe, eventually, a good project comes your way. Or, you can take another approach - you can embrace the task at hand and consider really shaping what you build and release into the world.

Over the years I've seen developers fizzle out, loose their passion and be reduced to nothing more than a bum in a seat. It's all well and good if this is what you want to do. But do you? really? Those developers aren't glowing with excitement. They aren't happy. They aren't good to be around and they bring team morale down. The end result? A sub-par product. Something I'm not keen to be apart of and I'm sure you aren't either.

Surrounding yourself with positive energetic people is a must. Or, better still, standup and lead by example.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with just building something. Not all ideas are the destined to be the latest and greatest startup idea or Fortune 500 company, and that's simply ok. It comes down to how you decide to shape it.

Shape it to be something you are proud of

Could design be better? Maybe this is a perfect opportunity to engage with designers and work closely on it. Be decisive. Give them well-structured feedback. Push the boundaries a little. Get them out of their comfort zone. They'll take it up a level and give you something that you will be excited to build. Get them excited by showing them you're passionate about it.

Is the codebase a little sloppy? Make time to put feature requests aside and clean it up. Educate team members, define clear code standards and take some ownership of the code base. Be proud of what you are writing. Maybe the the build pipeline is sub-optimal. Fix it. Add more tests. Take advantage of that new tool you've been looking for an excuse to use. Let it give you confidence in what you release.

Can performance be improved? Stop reading, get your hands dirty and put it into practice. Apply the latest tricks and sharpest techniques. Write, measure, re-factor and repeat.

Having the skills, the opportunity and the motivation to build something new is as good a reason as any to make it worthwhile. Looking back and being proud of what you have built makes you realise how much you've grown as a developer.

Build something and make it rock solid.

Topics: Culture, Inspirational