Simply put: crap code leads to crap business outcomes.
Whenever you build software, it’s never one-and-done. After all, you can’t expect to thrive and grow as a business if you’re unable to evolve alongside the market and the changing needs and wants of your customers.
Launching code is like that old saying, “This isn’t a goodbye; it’s a ‘see you later.’” You’ll be back — and it’s best to set yourself up for success from the very start.
So how can you make sure you’re doing that?
Many business owners come to us to have their products fixed. But before we take them on, we examine their existing code using a 5-metric classification system. This code analysis not only helps to diagnose and prevent issues, but it also aligns back to their future business benefits.
Let’s take a look at these metrics.
If a developer can’t read your code, they can’t change it or fix it. And if this is the case, they’ll likely need to rewrite it from scratch — which means newer features will take longer to implement and many things can be missed. And this is all on top of spending a lot more time and money than if they were able to just make the changes in the first place.
This has more negative impacts than that extra surface-level time and money. When you have bad code, it’s hard to keep good developers on your team. They simply won’t have the patience or persistence to constantly slog through it.
The snowball effect of losing developers means you’ll need to hire new ones. It will take longer to onboard the new ones if they can’t read your code. All the while, you’ll be losing precious time.
As I mentioned earlier, your software isn’t a static thing that’s built one time and never touched again. It should be changing alongside your business, adapting to implement new features and technologies while addressing the changing needs of your customers.
This ties into a lot of the considerations and issues from metric #1: when you’re coding for future change and integrations, you’re better equipped to pivot and match customer needs.
If you’re writing crap code, the next change or feature update you want to make will be so much harder because you’ll have to rework so many things. But if the code is written in such a way that it allows for change, then you’re not wasting your limited time with the next lot of features. You’re also saving yourself from a host of other issues, like bugs.
Does everyone remember the fallout from Optus? Its September 2022 data breach affected an estimated 9.7 million past and present customers – that’s more than a third of Australia’s population! Now the business is being sued in a class action lawsuit from more than 100,000 customers.
Long story short: don’t be like Optus.
Removing the risk for a hacker to easily steal your data or systems is the best way to get a good night’s sleep. As we all know, compromising your customers’ data is pretty much the number one way to tank your reputation in the market. Many companies who have made this mistake have ultimately had to close their doors. This is an especially big threat if you’re not a multi-billion-dollar company like Optus, with the resources to keep you afloat.
As you build your code, keep critical security practices in mind, like input validation, authentication and authorization, data encryption, session management, error handling, API security, patch management, and continuous updates (just to name a few).
The majority of wins (or losses) for businesses will be closely tied to your software’s performance. For starters, high-performing code reduces the load on your servers and your customers’ devices, which allows you to bring on more customers safely. This also helps with things like energy efficiency, since your code isn’t hogging so many resources.
On the flip side: low-performing code will be sluggish, making it frustrating to use your application. This inevitably results in customers slowly losing their patience until they’re too annoyed to keep trying anymore. If the coding problems aren’t solved by a certain point, you’ll start losing customers.
High-performing code has many benefits for everyone involved: end users, developers, and business owners. These perks include an overall better user experience (UX), lower costs for maintaining software and hardware, improved scalability as you grow, and a competitive advantage in the market.
If your code is constantly breaking, your support team is in a constant vortex of fighting fires. While this may be awesome in a Marvel superhero movie, it’s not what you want as a business owner.
When your team is stuck in a cycle of code rescue, it takes time away from other revenue-generating activities they could be doing. For example, you could be spending those valuable resources on making engaging marketing content that supports users and helps them more effectively and smoothly use your software.
On the other hand, if your code is stable and reliable, you can relax knowing that it’s less prone to errors, crashes, and other unexpected issues. Like the other metrics we’ve discussed, code stability has many “trickle-down” benefits for your business, like less maintenance, better security, longevity, smoother scalability, and an overall better UX.
Start with good code, end with good business outcomes
At the end of the day, good code has myriad benefits. It helps you keep good engineers and onboard new ones quickly, and it tells you when it’s about to break before it tells your customers. It contributes to better UX and overall better business performance.
Bad code has the opposite effects: it strains your budget and resources, leads to more headaches and fires to put out, and gives you a bad reputation — which inevitably means poor business performance.
Whether you’re building code for healthcare or real estate software, or anything in between, invest the time and resources upfront and watch the benefits come to you.