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I stress quality over and over at work, but it struck me today that maintainability is the true goal.
I can write code of impeccable quality; every class carefully designed, every method refactored to the nth degree. If it’s hard to change when change is required, or if no one can understand it but me, it’s not very maintainable.
The two do go hand in hand; if you have to choose, though, pick maintainability.
Both are easy to sacrifice in the name of expedience. This leads to technical debt.
Apologies don’t pay down technical debt. Placing blame doesn’t help. If you’re working with the code, refactoring is your responsibility. Just do it.
(At least in a shared code environment.)