Blog of Sara Jakša

Yagni and Minimalism

On the last Python meetup, during one of the presentations, somebody mentioned the acronym YAGNI. I think the whole acronym was not well explained, because I ended up researching it the next day. And I am glad I did.

YAGNI stands for "You aren't gonna need it" and it is a concept in the extreme programming. A short reading about it seems to mean, that implementing a feature because one might need it in the future is a bad idea. The situation can change, and the feature may not be needed, or it may be needed in a different way, that was not predicted. So, there is no point in doing in advance, since it would not save any time.

There is a nasty project that I am technically doing for close to 5 years now. I have notes from it from 2014, and I still did not finish. This is to get rid of all the books that I am never going to read again.

I am a big fan of book and most of my stipend in high school went for buying books. I could spend it all in one visit in the book store. So, I ended up with 100s of books. I have already removed 100s of them, but there were still 4 bookshelves of them left.

I have a system, where I put the books, that I decided to remove on different shelf, and then on a different shelf, when I take their pictures and then on another shelf, when I post them to give away or sell on the internet. After reading about YAGNI, I went to my bookshelf, and now there is less than 1 bookshelf of books left on the pile, where I want to keep them, or I am not decided about it yet. And I could remove more, but the other shelfs started to lose space.

The same problem that I used to have with books, I now have with scientific articles. If I am let on the internet, and I don't know what to do, I can spend around 2 hours on the internet and end up with around 100 new scientific articles to read. And I would usually read around half of them eventually.

Now, that I had read about YAGNI, I have gone over them and deleted quite a lot of them. They were interesting, but they have nothing to do with what I am doing right now. And I can always find them again, if I ever decide to try and research that.

Also, in this could of day, for the first time in years, I have almost no notes in the physical form (not counting the notebooks). And I went over that one file, that I think everybody has, and organized/deleted all the stuff from it. I am talking about that file, where everything is inside. I can maybe also put this in the bin of the things that YAGNI had done for me.

Now, when I look at the thing, I am much more likely to simply delete it or decide that it is not what I need right now. I have no idea, what I am going to need in the future, so I can eliminate all of this. All the wishes of what I could do or what I want to do in the future are no slowly getting erased, in order to make space for something new.

Let’s hope, this is going to push me forward. It would be nice, that in the near future, when I find a job and move away from my parents, that I am no longer bound by my past self and that I manage to either do or eliminate most of my old wishes and projects.