Twice in the last week I have used a quick test to determine how well a team is coding and delivering projects. The test comes from Joel on Software and outlines twelve points to which you provide a yes or no answer:
- Do you use source control?
- Can you make a build in one step?
- Do you make daily builds?
- Do you have a bug database?
- Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
- Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
- Do you have a spec?
- Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
- Do you use the best tools money can buy?
- Do you have testers?
- Do new candidates write code during their interview?
- Do you do hallway usability testing?
A score of 12 is perfect, 11 is tolerable, but 10 or lower and you’ve got serious problems. Back in 2000 Joel wrote ‘The truth is that most software organizations are running with a score of 2 or 3, and they need serious help’. I would hope and expect that the industry has moved up the points scale since then. My Team scored an 11 (we move office soon so get number 8, quite working environment), its taken 2 years to get there and I would love to get to twelve, but cannot say that we fix bugs before writing new code, every time.
Take the test, its quick and it does give a good idea of weakness in process and provide you with simple, yet effective goals to aim for.