The Business Value of Clean Code in Software Development
In software development, clean code is one of the essential aspects of delivering high-quality products that fulfill customer needs. Writing code is not only about creating executable code; it is also about creating code that is easy to understand, maintain, and modify over time. In other words, clean code is about creating software that can easily evolve and adapt to changing business needs.
While clean code increases business values in the long run; On the short run, developers benefit first from implementing clean code. A better developer experience can lead into increasing work efficiency, and reducing frustration and burnout making development process more enjoyable.
In this article, we'll go into more detail about the benefits of implementing clean code into your development process, the business cost of poor code quality, and common best practices for writing clean code.
Benefits of Implementing Clean Code
By implementing clean code into the software development means to commit delivering a high-quality software to the customer, and prevent the exponential growth of technical debt. While the benefits can't be seen instantly for the business, it is quietly strengthen the foundation of the software.
Here some business benefits of clean code:
1. Faster Time to Market
Time to Market (TTM) is a duration taken for a development results something that is available for customer to use. When a business has short time to market, customer will be available to use their products faster than their competitor's products. With clean code, software development schedule can be easily followed. As developer will have shorter time to understand the code, they will spend more on writing new code and functionality.
2. Increased Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
A high-quality software makes it easier for users fulfill their needs. When a user is comfortable, they will stick to use the software for a long time or even recommend it to their colleagues. Indirectly, this will affect business profit and establish a good business name within it's user base.
3. Increased Business Profit
From previous benefits, it sums up into Increased Business Profit. When the software products are delivering at stable pace and with high quality, new user will come from indirect marketing of recurring user, may it from their recommendation, experience, and review of the products.
The Cost of Poor Code Quality
Clean code is not the only aspect of improving the entire development process, but it is one of the most important aspect. Having a poor code quality impacts your business in the long run, while maybe at the start of project you felt the products deliver faster, the cost of poor code will stacks and blocks productivity one day in the future. When poor code is ignored in development, it could cost the business these things:
1. Lower Developer Morale
A poor code is hard to understand and to work with. Developers stress and frustration could developed and causing burnout, decreasing their morale and productivity. It's possibly one of your best developer team gradually becomes the worst developer team.
2. Increased Development Time
When the developers morale is low, they will have decreased productivity than they used to have, this lead to increased development time. While the code is poorly written, they will spend more time in understanding the code, rather than fixing bugs, maintaining code, or even developing new functionality. This can lead into delayed project timelines and missed business opportunities.
3. Stacking Unplanned Technical Debt
Technical Debt is a term when development teams intentionally or accidentally delivers a function or project that needs to be fixed or refactored later. A planned technical debt can leverage the business farther by delivering the products on a faster term with the cost of later fix.
An unplanned technical debt or accidental one is happen when development team is not aware that their code is causing roadblock later. One of example for this is when a code is written not to be extendable for further needs, as it will need a refactor or adjustment in the later development. This type of technical debt could cause delay in the development an affect everything in the business process.
Common Best Practices for Writing Clean Code
There are many ways or practices of clean code to achieve the benefits and prevent the cost that has been explained above. But here are some most common practices of clean code that can be applied in your development process:
1. Use Meaningful Names
A meaningful names mean a name that is easily understood by most people. Be sure for each variables, functions, and classes to have meaningful name. Avoid using ambiguous and abbreviations for naming purposes.
2. Use Consistent Naming
Consistent naming prevents developer to be confused from a functionally same function with different names or the vice-versa. Try to keep a single term for each action.
3. Keep Functions
Short and Focused Functions should be short and focused on a single task, rather than trying to do too much. This can make code easier to read and modify, reducing the risk of bugs and errors. Aim for functions that are no longer than 20-30 lines of code.
4. Write Self-Documenting Code
Writing self-documenting code can make it easier for other developers to understand your code and maintain it over time. This involves using clear and concise comments, avoiding unnecessary comments, and ensuring that code is well-structured and easy to read.
5. Minimize Code
Duplication Code duplication can lead to maintenance issues and bugs, as well as increasing development time. Avoid copying and pasting code and instead use functions and classes to reuse code where possible. This can reduce the risk of errors and make code more modular and scalable.
6. Use Consistent Formatting and Indentation
Using consistent formatting and indentation can make code easier to read and maintain, reducing the risk of bugs and errors. Adopt a consistent style guide and ensure that all developers on your team follow it.
Clean code is a crucial element of software development that can deliver high-quality software and provide numerous benefits to businesses, including reduced time-to-market, increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, and higher profits. On the other hand, ignoring poor code quality can lead to low developer morale, longer development times, and technical debt, which can impede business growth. To maximize business value and minimize the chances of these costs occurring, it's essential to implement clean code practices, such as using meaningful names, consistent formatting, and concise and focused functions.
I hope this article can inspire development team to implement clean code for its business value and improving developer experience.
Need a help on your clean code practices? Kitameraki team is ready to help you. Contact us now!
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