Write down technical decisions in an Engineering Log. This can be an electronic record or a paper journal. Keep dated, brief notes on architecture and infrastructure ideas: who was there, what alternatives were considered, the reasons for accepting one idea over the others, exterior forces and constraints that influenced your decision.
✓ Critical ❑ Helpful ❑ Experimental
Steps to first adopt this habit:
January 27: Fred and the Marketing dep. says all customers will be on SQLServer, so we will exploit SQLServer-specific extensions for better performance. ... August 13: New customers are all on Oracle, so we will remove the SQLServer-specific extensions.
But then Sara notes that it’s not just Oracle, but many new customers are using Postgres. The log will be amended:
August 13: New customers are all on Oracle, Postgres, and other databases so we will remove the SQLServer-specific extensions.
You’re doing it wrong if:
In the beginning, record all decisions, no matter how seemingly trivial. If it was enough of a decision to warrant a meeting or discussion amongst several team members, then it’s probably important enough to jot down. The level of detail and alternatives will be about the same for all decisions.
But over the time, you’ll better recognize which decisions involve more uncertainty, and may well be revisited in time, and which are more stable and not likely to change. You’ll record more detail and helpful pointers (URLs to information and code resources) for the more difficult decisions.
Keep a personal “tips & tricks” log. Add in new things you’ve learned, useful tips and tricks, code recipes and pointers to useful websites, etc.
Sit in on the TeamSync and take notes for what your experience thinks might be relevant for the team. Read it back to them after the sync.
This habit is pretty straightforward, and unless you spend too much time taking notes (you’re not writing War and Peace), or not taking any notes at all, it’s hard to go too far wrong. However, if you treat this as a cookbook type task and do it because someone said it was a good idea, and then never reference that information again, you’ve succeeded in failing spectacularly.
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