Saturday, April 22, 2006

Taking the Joel Test

Recently I had a chance to read Joel Splosky's article 'The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code' After reading through the article I took a few minutes to evaluate a software services company that I am familiar with using the 12 questions that constitute the test. I have reproduced the questions and my answers below.

Do you use source control? - No. Most projects that use source control tools do not use them the proper way. Archiving and taking back-ups is NOT Version Control.

Can you make a build in one step? - No.

Do you make daily builds? - No. Build process starts several days (or hours) before delivery. It starts 'offshore' and continues 'on-site'.

Do you have a bug database? - Not in all projects. In fact only a minority of the projects use any kind of bug tracker.

Do you fix bugs before writing new code? - No!

Do you have an up-to-date schedule? - Not really.

Do you have a spec? - Yes.

Do programmers have quiet working conditions? - No!

Do you use the best tools money can buy? - No. (Tools?! *Buy* tools? Are you crazy?)

Do you have testers? - Yes.

Do new candidates write code during their interview? - No! (Code?! Are you crazy?)

Do you do hallway usability testing? - What's that???? Oh you want an answer? Well, the answer is No.

According to Joel, A score of 12 is perfect, 11 is tolerable, but 10 or lower and you've got serious problems. The truth is that most software organizations are running with a score of 2 or 3, and they need serious help, because companies like Microsoft run at 12 full-time.

This particular company rated 2. It would rate 3 if I grudgingly treat a partial 'Yes' as a full 'Yes' for Question #4 (Bug Database).

Try this for yourself. Be honest. Look long and hard at the results. If you are employed in the Indian software services industry, you have permission to weep.