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WTF Next? Dev ramblings from a master of nothing.

I was checking out the Stack Overflow site recently and stumbled upon a question concerning what a programmer should look for in a new position. The post’s accepted and best rated solution was to refer to a test posted to the Joel on Software blog entitled The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code.

After I perused this link which I had not personally seen before, I had to agree that most of these items would, in general, improve the status of my work environment. I have given myself the task of seeing about implementing as many of these steps as possible with minimal authority.

The first step of the test is source control, and I’m working with the IT Supervisor and the lead programmer to convince them of the ease of use of a source control such as Subversion.

Obviously, I cannot mandate that coding is a part of interviews since I do not do the interview. Also, there’s a chance I wouldn’t have gotten this position had coding been a prerequisite at the time.

so here’s my company’s score from the test, with our respective answers:

  1. Do you use source control? No.
  2. Can you make a build in one step? Usually Yes.
  3. Do you make daily builds? No.
  4. Do you have a bug database? No.
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code? No.
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule? No.
  7. Do you have a spec? No.
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions? Yes.
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy? Yes.
  10. Do you have testers? No.
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview? No.
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing? No.

So, 3 out of 12 there. Here’s what I think I can change currently:

  • Source control implementation.
  • One step builds from usually to always.
  • Daily builds.
  • Bug database implementation.
  • Fix bugs before new code (I think this one pairs well with daily builds)
  • Up-to-date schedule (more agile, less waterfall is my interpretation)
  • Have a spec. (Joel also has a decent tutorial on building specs)
  • Implement hallway usability testing.

These are within my control to mold our situation. If these steps are achieved, then we would be up to 10 out of 12. This is my goal for my department while I’m here, and I’ll be taking it on one step at a time.

I’ll give you guys updates about the progress when I can.


Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 3:10 PM Personal | Back to top

Comments on this post: The road to passing the Joel Test

# re: The road to passing the Joel Test
Requesting Gravatar...
Man, if you just get source control going first. Please.
Don't touch another line of code until source control is in place.
Really looking forward to seeing more about how this goes!
best of luck!
Left by secretGeek on Nov 01, 2008 6:08 AM

# re: The road to passing the Joel Test
Requesting Gravatar...
I'm working on it. So far I'm running a local SVN server on my machine, and doing projects through it. I try and commit when I think I'm at a good point to do so, and when the code isn't broken (currently the code doesn't do enough to be broken).

I'm getting a work laptop, and I hope to toss out the idea to make my old desktop into the SVN server for our team (the two of us). So far I dig SVN, it's simple enough to use without a lot of additional work.

Both the lead programmer and the IT Supervisor understand how we need source control, so if I've got an easy solution that I'm already testing it shouldn't be too bad to get it implemented.
Left by Stacy Vicknair on Nov 01, 2008 10:04 AM

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