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When Should A Startup Refactor?

If you’re working at a startup, chances are things need to go very fast. Faster than business that have a steady income. A product needs to get out the door as fast as possible, so it can be OK to incur some technical debt and create legacy code. But when do you start to clean up the technical mess that is the result?

Don’t Wait Too Long

Industry experts agree on the fact that technical debt and legacy code will slow you down in the long run. In fact, many believe that it already starts to slow you down after several weeks, not months.

I believe it can depend on your project and architecture, but the slower tempo will definitely start to manifest itself sooner rather than later.

A slower tempo means that you’re not delivering features as fast as you can. And that can translate into unhappy customers and a slower business, i.e. less income.

So as soon as you have a working product with customers, you should start to pay attention to the quality of the code and the architecture, and start reducing the amount of technical debt and legacy code.

This doesn’t mean you need to put your development to a complete standstill. You can improve the internal quality of your software while still producing features.

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