Aeons ago, in the year 2000, Joel Spolsky proposed the Joel Test, a set of questions that he recommends all software development teams should be able to answer “yes” to, in order to help them build great software.

This talk takes a look at these questions through technical, people, and process lenses, to see if they are still relevant in software development today. It investigates whether we should add any new questions, given the changes that have occurred in the industry in the last 17 years. And looks in to changes to these questions to make them more relevant for development of mobile products.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

The talk will be along the following lines:

  • The original Joel Test and why it's still relevant.
  • Which questions from it are still applicable, and which are not.
  • Walk through the details of why each question is applicable, or not. (see example below)
  • New questions that I would add (in place of or in addition to removed questions).
  • Why these new questions are needed or useful. (focus on modern tech, and mobile aspects)
  • Reacting to changing technologies, priorities, etc, and how a solid base helps you adapt.
  • What are the business benefits to this.
  • All the way through I'll use examples to illustrate steps working, or not working.

Example:

Question 7 - Do you have a spec?

To answer this question I’ll need to define what a spec is. I’ll also need to define what a spec *was* 17 years ago. The adoption of agile development practices has made this a much less straightforward question than it was in the past. In a waterfall development environment this was a fairly binary question - you either had a spec (signed off) or you didn’t. Now, it is a more nuanced discussion around how much of a spec is required before work should start. I’ll also ask is it possible to have too much of a spec? Could that stifle the creativity of the team and, therefore, be detrimental to the product.

Learning Outcome

I'd like people to come away with an increased awareness that tooling and process can make a huge positive difference to the way a team performs, and the products they make.

Target Audience

Developers, and managers of developers.

Prerequisite

Nothing specific.

schedule Submitted 3 weeks ago

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