The Clean Coder: Chapters 11 & 12

The image from chapter 11 perfectly sums up my feelings about this week.

I’ve really enjoyed reading The Clean Coder I think Uncle Bob has made some very clear and important points. This week was quite short and so there is only so much to write for this post. This books is great for a student hasn’t begun working or an engineer who’s at his first job fresh out of college. However, for anyone who has worked in the “real-world”, we already know the things that are stated in chapters 11 & 12.

One of the more interesting topics that I never really had a name for was Crisis Discipline. This is something in my current field that is incredibly important. I work as an Air Quality Engineer. Part of my job is to execute wet sample extractions for pollutant sources per federally regulated methods. In these methods everything I need to do in order to get proper extraction of whatever pollutant I am looking for is written in stone. However, during the actually sample gathering there are ways you can “speed up” the process or “cut corners” to make the job easier. However, EVERY single time someone decides to do this (No one has in my company), it backfires on them. It usually lands them rerunning an entire testing program that may costs tens-of-thousands of dollars.

The next chapter interestingly talks about collaboration. This is something again, that as working person in a technical field, I have found that a second pair of eyes is ALWAYS better. I spent a lot of my earlier years building and fabricating anything from specialized flanges to electrical control boxes. When you spend time designing something and working on something, no matter how good you are, you will screw up. Period. End of discussion. I remember training a young technician on how to rewire a simple relay system that controls a heater block. When this technician had completed the task they simply put the heater back on the shelf.. Job done, right? Wrong! Part of our process was to have an engineer or senior technician review all work performed on equipment. This technician in particular had an issue with me always checking his work due to our age difference, I presume. However, from his point of view, he thought I was always passively aggressively saying he wasn’t smart enough. So I decided to go out and check the heater anyways. I found that two of the wires were backwards, and that was going to cause the relay to stay closed 100% of the time which meant power was going to be continually supplied to the heater. The next morning I got in my normal time which was well before the rest of the technicians and I plugged the heater that he had worked on in. Long story short, when he had made it in to work he saw a BRIGHT cherry red heating element just about ready to melt through the metal casing. When he asked me what had happened I explained to him that is why we always have our work checked and luckily this was a relatively easy fix of swapping wires around. As he progressed in his knowledge of our equipment, he was going to find himself in tough spots where rewiring can take hours and it’s easier to take 10 minutes to have someone review your work then waste hours later because he thought he knew better. After a few similar issues like this he finally realized I only wanted him to do the best work he can and we are now close friends because of it and I was a groomsmen in his wedding.

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