Opinion: Sticking with a plan even if you don’t like it

Something I really struggle with in this industry is when newcomers to a system want to change standards within existing systems because they think something else is better. It’s a sign of immaturity yet it often applies to people who should be senior. Many system architects fall into this category.

For example, a vendor system that I’ve been working with has single column primary keys in all tables, and all the primary key columns are named PKey_ID (I’ve changed it a bit to protect the guilty). Now I can’t say I like that naming at all, but that’s not the point. There are a large number of tables that already have that naming scheme.

Enter the new architect who has a purist view where he wants to name the columns ID instead. Again, I really dislike this naming but I don’t care what the vendor does, apart from being consistent.

Yet what the architect does is change so that a handful of tables now have ID. That is a really poor outcome. If he really wants to change them, then come up with a plan to change all of them.

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I see the same thing in SQL Server.

We already had:

  • tinyint
  • smallint
  • int
  • bigint

And we already had:

  • smalldatetime
  • datetime

So when a larger precision version needed to be added, it wouldn’t have taken Einstein to come up with bigdatetime.

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The answer certainly wouldn’t have been datetime2 which is what we got.

Oh, you say, but datetime2 is really a combination of the new date and time data types, and we already had a datetime data type, so it couldn’t be that.

Yes, but what then happened with datetimeoffset? It’s a datetime2 with an offset, so why isn’t it datetime2offset?

What’s the answer? I’m not 100% sure but I wish these teams had more cranky old dudes who look at proposed designs and say “nah, have another go at it”.

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1 thought on “Opinion: Sticking with a plan even if you don’t like it”

  1. 1000% agree Greg!

    I don't care if you have some deep-seated love or hate of tabs or spaces, if you're the 10th person to join a project that has 6000 files, and all files have spaces, you use spaces. Or vice-versa. It's sociopathic to think otherwise.

    It also reminds me of the joke about trying to switch a country over to driving on the opposite side of the road by taking a phased approach: for the first 6 months just the buses and trucks will switch the side they drive on, and then everyone else will follow later.

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