Incentives Not To Invest In Structure

In which we meet the good-hearted people opposed to progress

I ran across a surprising opponent to improving structure: those interested in improving structure. How does that work?

Well, let’s say you have a group of people who want to make things a lot better. Micro-services advocates are today’s cliché example.

You have some code. It’s a mess. You want to tidy. Cause for celebration, right?

No, you get pushback. “Don’t tidy that. We’re about to replace it.” “Don’t tidy that. We want all the mess in one place.” “Don’t tidy that. It won’t make any difference.”

TF? suggests improving in small, safe steps, then making those steps so frequent that it looks like you are running. Not everybody has the same incentives, though. When you get pushback, remember that those pushing have different incentives than you do. They aren’t (likely) evil or stupid, any more than you are. Mostly just tidy anyway, but don’t be surprised or defensive.