Low pain tolerance

time to read 2 min | 364 words

I am coming back to a project that I haven't been a part of for about six months. It was in active development during that time, and I was happy to get back to it, since it is a really good code base, and a fun project beside. The team that handle this project is top notched, but my first reaction was something in the order: "how could you let it turn so hard!"

Then I toned it down a bit and started Big Refactoring. About fifteen minutes later, I was done, which didn't match at all my initial response, and took some thinking. Why did I react this way? Why did it took ~15 minutes to turn something that I found awkward to something that was really pleasant to work with?

How could the other team members, all of whom are very good, have gotten into this situation?

The answer is both that I over reacted and that the expectations that I had from the project where high. We have made working on this project very smooth experience, but as time passed, it started to get awkward to work with. By that time, I wasn't around, and the developers just dealt with that. It isn't painful or hard, it is not bad or annoying. It is just that it began to get awkward, in a project that was really smooth sailing.

Those 15 minutes were spent mostly in breaking apart a few services, setting up a registration rule in Binsor and relaxing in the glow of content that Things Just Work once again.

I came to the conclusion that different pain tolerance levels are responsible for my reaction. I have very high expectations from my code, and I expected that it would continue to be as easy as it was in the start. The devs in the team would have likely performed the same actions as I did, at a later date. But I found it painful now.

It is especially interesting in light of the recent discussion about code size and scaling a project higher.

I think that having a lower pain tolerance level is a good thing, if kept in check.