“This is the time of no regret
In a forward momentum race
We leave in our wake
What is broken and forgotten”
— Dark Tranquility (Swedish metal band)

My client was struggling with a significant decision. 

The key question was a choice between A and B.

A) Should we keep adding new features and fixing the base system that has significant technical debt?

B) Should we invest in a new design and build a clean system?

This is a choice many companies and individuals struggle with.  This even happens with cars, refrigerators, and really any type of technology you may own.  Eventually, the repairs of things become more expensive than the cost of replacing them.

But it is always a tough decision, especially when considering the very expensive replacement of a codebase.

I suggest that leaders consider the following two factors when making this decision.

  • How much do the engineers love or hate working in the system? If they hate it, it is likely because it is so slow to make changes. The best engineers will leave this situation.
  • How much slower is it to make changes in the old system than it will be in the new approach? This can often be measured. Many of my clients have gained speed improvements from 10 times faster to 22 times faster. 

Now go into the future 10 years.  Get a telescope and look backward.  Consider the larger and longer-term perspective.

When looking through the telescope of a decade, most of my clients have made the hard choice of picking option B and investing in the future.

Try this exercise with the decisions you are making.  

Which decision made the “you” ten years in the future happier?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett

Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash

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