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It is 9 years since Joel Spolsky created “The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code”. I thought it fitting to make a poll around it for the August 12th edition of the UK Flash (and a big thanks to @rammesses for the initial suggestion).

There is a little work required to complete the poll as you really should read the article by Joel – but for simplicity, below are the 12 questions. The test is still valid if you are a team of one. Please, do remember the words of Joel (with my highlighting):

“I've come up with my own, highly irresponsible, sloppy test to rate the quality of a software team. The great part about it is that it takes about 3 minutes.”

The Joel Test

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you make a build in one step?
  3. Do you make daily builds?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  7. Do you have a spec?
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  10. Do you have testers?
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing?

And once you have answered those questions, share with the rest of us how you scored.

P.S. When I graduated in 1989 I was lucky enough to join an awesome software company that scored at least 9 out of 12 on every project we worked on – and certainly a couple of the projects would have scored perfect 12s.

Posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2009 1:28 PM Poll/Survey | Back to top


Comments on this post: UK MSDN Flash Poll: How did your software team score in the Joel Test?

# re: UK MSDN Flash Poll: How did your software team score in the Joel Test?
Requesting Gravatar...
A solid 7 for us.

We miss out on:
4. A bug database.
8. Quiet working conditions.
9. The best tools money can buy.
10. Testers
and
12. Hallway usability testing.

PP
Left by Phil Pursglove on Aug 12, 2009 2:35 PM

# re: UK MSDN Flash Poll: How did your software team score in the Joel Test?
Requesting Gravatar...
I assume the results are about to be posted? Please do, I think it would be interesting.
Left by MarkJ on Sep 16, 2009 3:47 PM

# re: UK MSDN Flash Poll: How did your software team score in the Joel Test?
Requesting Gravatar...
Just click on show results in the poll "window"
Left by ericnel@hotmail.com on Sep 16, 2009 3:54 PM

# re: UK MSDN Flash Poll: How did your software team score in the Joel Test?
Requesting Gravatar...
It doesn't seem possible to find a great company to work for, irrespective of the Joel Test.

You have two choices.

1. Work for a software house where they like to call themselves a Microsoft Certified Partner but in reality, you get worked to death with crap conditions, long hours and no career development.

2. Work for a business where development's not its core business, therfore it doesn't know/care about getting the best from its developers. Sooner or later outsourcing is the likely evolution, either piece by piece or wholesale.

Either way, neither seems to know what it takes for developers to be productive. PeopleWare was written years ago, so it's not like it's new or rocket science.

After being in IT for years, my passion for development is being slowly eroded.

What can you do? Perhaps contracting is the next evolution.
Left by Kiwi Bob on Sep 16, 2009 9:12 PM

# re: UK MSDN Flash Poll: How did your software team score in the Joel Test?
Requesting Gravatar...
I got a paltry 4 out of 12 for this and even then I am probably being kind to myself here.

I have been running as a software development business for nearly 5 years now, and if I am honest it is hard to complete the majority of the above tasks if you are working on your own (although having no source control is unforgivable but I know this and am just waiting for new funds..).

And I can't believe MS does no 5 when they are forever writing new stuff before fixing bugs (surely)!
Left by iank on Sep 17, 2009 11:38 AM

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