When Worse Is Better: Incrementally Escaping Local Maxima

If you’ve been reading along, you will know that my Sprinting Centipede strategy is to reduce the cost of each change as much as possible so as to enable small changes to be chained together nearly continuously. From the outside it is clear that big changes are happening, even though from the inside it’s clear that no individual change is large or risky.

One knock on this strategy is how it deals with the situation where incremental improvement is no longer possible, where the design has reached a local maximum. For example, suppose you have squeezed all the performance you can out of a single server and you need to shard the workload. This can be a large change to the software and can’t be achieved by incremental improvements.

(Full Story: When Worse Is Better: Incrementally Escaping Local Maxima)

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