How to Avoid the Curse of Premature Optimization

It’s almost guarantee-worthy, really. From novices to experts, from architecture down to ASM, and optimizing anything from machine performance to developer performance, chances are quite good that you and your team are short-circuiting your own goals.

What? Me? My team?

That’s a pretty hefty accusation to level. Let me explain.

Optimization is not the holy grail, but it can be just as difficult to obtain. I want to share with you a few simple tips (and a mountain of pitfalls) to help transform your team’s experience from one of self-sabotage to one of harmony, fulfillment, balance, and, eventually, optimization.

What Is Premature Optimization?

Premature optimization is attempting to optimize performance:

  • When first coding an algorithm
  • Before benchmarks confirm you need to
  • Before profiling pinpoints where it makes sense to bother optimizing
  • At a lower level than your project currently, dictates

Now, I’m an optimist, Optimus.

At least, I’m going to pretend to be an optimist while I write this article. For your part, you can pretend your name is Optimus, so this will speak more directly to you.

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