Other words for 'rewrite'

Yesterday we looked at how the word ‘refactoring’ is sometimes (mis) used to mean the act of changing a whole product or product capability by progressively modifying the design of the sytem. I prefer to call this a ‘rewrite’.

But, ‘rewrite’ also has its problems. It’s a scare word that can send product managers, CEOs and marketing directors into panic mode.

Lead developer: “We may need to rewrite the account management section because there’s so much tech debt there it’s become almost impossible to add new features.”

Product manager: “But, but… that sounds drastic. How long will that take? Will we have to stop doing anything else? Have you spoken to the CTO about this? Why why why?”

Yesterday I described the decision to rewrite as a strategic one. But how you go about rewriting a product or feature is tactical. Which tactics you take will depend on the circumstances of your own product. No two rewrites are the same.

For this reason, it can be better to avoid using the word ‘rewrite’, because it may carry negative connotations. You know, the kind of project that goes quiet for 18 months then releases a rewrite to users with a big bang, all in one go. Risky and scary.

Perhaps we can use better words to describe the less risky, incremental improvement approach so we don’t put The Fear on our coworkers. ‘Rework’ and ‘rejuvenate’ are both examples I’ve seen.

Here are some more examples, bad and good:

  • recast
  • renew
  • transform
  • refresh
  • consolidate
  • revisit
  • freshen up (ugh, no)
  • improve (big assumption here!)

Got a suggestion for a good word you’ve used in the past? Hit reply and tell me?

All the best,

– Jim

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