Pretty much all businesses that have been around for several years have built up technical debt. Effectively managing that debt is key to keeping your IT development productive and modern.
Over that last few months, the company I work for has started a refactoring forum to discuss our strategies for doing just that.
We meet up once a month for an hours meeting. The attendees include several developers from each delivery team as well as at least one architect.
This has had many advantages for us:
- Spreads knowledge on refactoring techniques
- Spreads knowledge on design patterns and good architectural practices
- Agree on what the best practices are for your organization
- Gives all developers the opportunity to input on coding standards
- Allows us to find out what our refactoring priorities should be
- Come to a consensus on what refactoring work is not profitable
- Discuss progress since the last meeting against our aims and find solutions to any problems we are having
- Quickly learn lessons from other developers who have already learnt “the hard way”
- See the big picture design goal as well as the smaller areas of improvement needed to get there
- Set realistic refactoring objectives for the next month that can be done along with our day to day work
- Strengthens the relationships between architects and developers through collaboration
I have found that these meetings are very worthwhile, and with most developers learning several new things from each meeting.
I recommend that you encourage your members IT department to join your own refactoring forum and see how much you can learn from this.
I would love to know how you are getting on with them.