Disagreeing with "best practices"

published 2023-08-06 [ home ]

When I interview software developers, I usually ask some variation of the following questions:

What Software Engineering practices do you consider critical to achieve your objectives? Are there “best practices” that do not matter, or which can be actively harmful?

My goal in asking this is mainly to understand if the candidate is opinionated, and if so where those opinions come from. For the most part there is no right or wrong answer, but there are good and bad ways to answer.

I have already posted some of my answers to the first question here. Some can be reversed to become answers to the second one too:

In addition, here are some of my other answers to that second question:

To end this post with something related, Brett Slatkin is hosting a podcast called Worst Practices where developers talk about something terrible they do. I am sure you will recognize yourself in some of those. For instance I have only used a simple editor for a long time like Mitchell Hashimoto does, I debug with print statements like Leah Culver and I even sometimes put them in system libraries like Mahmoud Hashemi!