alacrity in action
//TODO: Write this post

I don’t think there is a large code-base that has been worked on for a while, in any common language, that would not have some TODOs scattered around the code. In fact there is dedicated functionality in popular IDEs (Visual Studio included, and ReSharper adds on top) to ease tracking of TODOs in code.

Some time ago my team have been doing a code review and have actually had a luxury of a week dedicated solely to refactoring (a rare treat I would think for most projects). Part of that exercise was revisiting the TODOs scattered around. We got rid of all, and it most cases simply by deleting the comment. After all, functionally the code was complete.

I started pondering why TODOs appeared there in the first place and found two reasons straight away (or at least two reasons that people would usually give):

  • I didn’t know how to do it;
  • I didn’t have time to do it;

My take is, TODOs are a learning opportunity

//TODO: Implement this using the FetchStategy
//TODO: Confirm what is the maximum length here

and also, in context of Lean software development, they could be classified as inventory and thus waste. Finally if they simply express functional requirements

//TODO: Get this value from the user

or non-functional requirements

//TODO: Improve performance of this method

they  should not be TODOs at all as there are better places (on the backlog) to capture this information.

I have now decided to accelerate my learning (both about technology and project) and never to put another TODO in code. Instead, allocate time immediately (as I am never too busy), and resolve the problem at hand. Try it, it may strangely increase your productivity.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.