Friday, October 28, 2011

The Matt Test

In 2000, Joel Spolsky (insightful software engineering blogger) introduced The Joel Test. It tests the bare minimum for a dev team with 12 easy questions:
  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?
A score of 12 is perfect, 11 is tolerable, but 10 or lower and you've got serious problems.
It's not a perfect test of an engineering organization, but it's a great minimum. It's great for being over a decade old - but at a decade old, some of these seem painfully basic to me now (source control and bug database).

I would add a few:
  1. Do you use Google Apps, or at least Gmail and Google Calendar?
  2. Do you deploy at least once every other week?
  3. Do you love your and respect your designer?
  4. Do you have a Twitter account that replies to users?
  5. Do you have design docs for major components that resembles reality?
  6. Do you have a wiki that employees use?
More to come, I'm sure. This is a living document. 1-6 were added on November 2, 2011. I'll annotate the addition date for new ones.

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