Thursday, June 14, 2018

Owner, Renter, Guest, Vandal?

What is your role in the code base you find yourself in today? 
Owner? 
Renter?
Guest?
Visitor? 
Vandal?
I ask seriously because I'm learning that the answers matter. 
A lot.
An owner makes property improvements, upgrades, installations, replacements.  It belongs to them, and its value is important. An owner can paint, can put in a staircase, can replace the plumbing.
A renter tries to not make things worse and can make superficial improvements. Maybe they can paint or change out some things, but only with permission from the owner. Anything that is really wrong, that's on the owner.
A renter doesn't repave the drive, put in a deck, fix the drainage of the basement. It's not really theirs.
A guest is just there for the day; not really permitted to make changes at all. They can use the facilities that exist, but that's all. Could you imagine, "Hello people of Pisa. I just noticed your tower is crooked, so I fixed it."  Guests are just passing through.
A vandal doesn't care about the quality and state of the property at all. They are just there to put their personal mark on it and they hope to avoid the consequences of doing so. 

You?

How do you treat the code you're in? Can you make the changes you want to make, so that it becomes more valuable? Can you make any substantive changes without permission? Do you just get the effect you want and get out before you're caught?
Is it a place you live, or a thing you wander into and out of sometimes?
There is another possibility: contractor.
If you're playing the part of a contractor then you're there to make a specific change on the behalf of the owner. 
The property isn't yours, and you're not invested in its value. You may take pride in your work and reputation and therefore refuse to do slapdash work. A great contractor acts in the owners' best interest.
On the other hand, you might be the budget option, the lowest bidder. There is a pretty small difference between a budget (slapdash) contractor and a vandal. 
Which are you? 
Which do you want to be? 
Which are you expected to be?
Does a misalignment in the expectation you have and the expectation others have of your role create problems?