Code As Communication

I’m fond of saying that code has no value until it is running in production. I still believe that is a correct and important statement. But I want to qualify that statement to say that code has no performative value until it is running in production. No one’s job is complete, its not “done” until its running in prod.

But there is another value in written code: communication. There comes a time when you have written the one pagers. You’ve written more detailed documentation and plans on what you’re going to do. And you’ve had the meetings to discuss all of these ideas. But sometimes you still don’t have traction with the folks involved. People seem to still not be on the same page. To use an aviation metaphor-you’re trying to take off and there is a lot of drag slowing you down from reaching takeoff velocity.

Start writing code. Don’t even try and run it. Create a draft pull request. Keep writing code and increase your code coverage on the topic. There is communication value in non-running code. It can get people past whatever the mental blocks are.


Originally published at



Solving Problems & Saving Time through Software and Crushing Entropy. Twitter: @EngineerJohnO

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