Collaboration considered helpful

When you work on a project by yourself, you are completely free to set your own rules and conventions. This can be extremely convenient.

After all, we are all very good at communicating with ourselves. For one thing, we know our own thoughts.

But when you bring another person into the mix, things get trickier. Everything needs to be clear — and not just inside your own head.

In the last few days I have needed to make the transition from writing a piece of software all on my own to bringing in a collaborator. Which means I’ve needed to go into my code and change a lot of things, in order to make everything easier to understand and communicate.

There was a part of me that felt grumpy about this. After all, I already knew exactly where everything was before this other person ever came on board.

But then I looked at the changes I had made, and realized that the entire system was now much cleaner, more robust, and far easier to maintain. Clearly there is something intrinsically better about code that is designed for collaboration.

I suspect that this principle generalizes to other parts of one’s life. Even to those parts that don’t involve software or computers.

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