Should Developers “Measure Twice And Cut Once”?

May 20, 2022 · 1 min read

Yes it does, but only under specific circumstances.

Here’s why ⬇️

“Measure Twice, Cut Once”

This proverb comes from craft, more precisely from carpentry. If you need to cut a piece of wood, measure twice before doing so. If you measure wrong and make the cut, you may need to cut again, or even use a completely new piece of wood.

Cutting wood has consequences.

Writing code has, too. But most often not very drastic ones!

The advice above is only relevant when there are costly or irreversible consequences to what you do. With code you can often just mess around. Change something, then test it manually or run automated tests.

But even for devs some actions have consequences. Changing the resources available to your production environment, for example. Or applying a hotfix after users report a bug.

Other interpretations that make this relevant for devs are these questions:

  • What exactly is my cut (action) here?”
  • “How can I measure if my cut (action) is necessary?”
  • “How can I measure if my cut (action) was successful?”

Depending on what you do, measuring twice is probably not part of your daily routine. It shouldn’t be for most of us. But it’s good to be aware of what you’re doing, taking a step back every now and then, to check what impact your actions will have.