Figure out how to debug everything, kill blackboxes

 Avoid blackboxes in your tech stack. It is tempting to say “oh, this piece of software is acting up, but its not our team’s responsibility its xyz team’s problem”. Or this vendor’s software is acting up, “Guess we have to take 30 minutes off while we wait for it to come back up”. Sometimes this pattern shows up in the use of 3rd party libraries. 

It is tempting to allow the resistance to figuring out another piece of software block you from making progress on your project. But letting yourself take the easy route will slow down your progress as a software engineer. A blackbox is just a piece of software you don’t understand yet. You have worked with and figured out hundreds of programs in your career. This one isn’t anything special. 

Don’t let a bug in the end to end framework prevent you from making progress. Figure out the problem, open a ticket against the team that owns it. If you can make a fix yourself. The last thing you want is to get nothing done because you were waiting for someone else to fix a problem that you could have fixed, but “didn’t have to”. 

If your team has a docker compose stack for local testing, figure out how to get it running. Fix the documentation, test your software e2e locally. 

If there is an old integration test suite that intermittently fails, don’t let those failures block your work. Fix the failures, mock the flakey dependencies, don’t just sit there and let some software waste your time because you didn’t want to put the effort into deciphering how it works. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *