Question to those who ever had to herd cats or, in other words, work as a development lead. Do you nitpick on code style / formatting / layouts in any way? If yes, to what degree? Not looking for specific items, just trying to get a general opinion.
I've recently been made responsible for another developer and it's only the second time when I have full control over everything
that happens in the code of a multi-person project that's promising to grow large over time. I've had to manage people before, but it was mostly either informal tech leadership / code counseling
/ short stunts as a sub for primary leads. Now I'm responsible for everything, long term, and more people are joining the team soon.
I've created more or less solid code base before the other person started on the project and everything is uniform in terms of style. Lot of people joke I have OCD about code quality but they also compliment on how my code is easy to read.
Now, the new guy committed his code to SVN, I'm going through it and I'm seeing few things I dislike, mostly minor stuff like several lines of code going together without logical separation with blank lines or SQL statements without proper indentation. I wonder if I should raise this issue with the guy and make him follow the same level of code cleanliness that I set.
On one hand - I definitely should, because lax code writing quickly leads to code rot (broken window syndrome) and it's one of the worst things that can happen to the software project. One the other hand, functionally the code is good and considering that the developer switched to C# from Java in just a few weeks it is very good. I'm afraid that forcing the person to follow my style will discourage his creativity.
Also, I've noticed that all great dev leads that I worked with before ignored the minor stuff in regards of code style. The only thing they required was easy to read code that functionally worked well. However, code in all of those projects was more or less messy.
On the other hand, that one time when I had to manage someone on another project and I also had a say about the code style, I enforced it strictly and it worked well. The code stayed completely clean, uniform, easy to read and with low bug rate. But that was a short term thing and very specific (large number of stored procedures), so I'm not sure if the experience is relevant.
So, it sums up to the following - not enforcing code style leads to the risk of getting code rot, enforcing it may discourage the programmers (about the worst thing that can happen). And it's not clear what is the best solution.
Thoughts, opinions, ideas? Thanks in advance, ya all