When I see an app, my first thought is often, “Which idiot made this mess?”
We quickly brush off old work, thinking it’s bad. Yet it’s usually not about the people before us lacking skill, but more about past tools and constraints.
This happens a lot in product management, design, and coding. How many of us have thought, “This code is a nightmare, we need a fresh start!” only to trade old challenges for new ones, creating a new mess?
There’s a balance. It’s good to question other people’s definition of problems. And it’s good to question their past solutions. But outright rejection is never the answer. Deep understanding of a problem often emerges from looking into what’s there and trying to understand the “why” behind the decisions first.
As you dive into past work, you might feel they didn’t hold to these standards. While it’s easy to get frustrated, use it as a push. Try to understand, and to be the change and elevate the standard.
If you’re itching to scrap the manual, please ensure you’ve actually read it first.