A year and a half ago I first did the the Joel test for StyleLounge. We had quite some answers that were about to become a “yes” but were still a “no” at the time. Today do pretty good (10/12 or 11/12) but not 12/12. Let’s take a closer look at two of the questions were we don’t score a clear “yes”:
1. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
Of course we do, we’re pretty proud on decreasing technical debt quickly and continuously. Of course we don’t do it always. Being a startup were developers are involved in business processes and prioritization, it would feel weird fixing bugs that have no impact on our business while features that allow us to growth are put on hold. It’s important to strike a balance because some bugs can hurt processes without having business impact. Understanding and discussing this balance is key. I think we’re striking the right balance and would therefore answer with a “yes”.
2. Do you have testers?
Here the answer contains of two aspects. We have a size where we’d rather put our money in new developers and have all developers work on test automation and clear specs. We believe that test automation experts are important but we believe that having developers working on this has big advantages too because it creates a strong sense of responsibility for what happens in the system. Although I’m happy with how we do it, the answer is a “no” because the question is referring to dedicated testers.
3. Do you have a spec?
This question is quite interesting and I like its openness. A decade ago almost everybody would’ve thought about long documents with detailed requirements. In a clean, agile environment specs live in the form of high-quality user stories and – at least as important – as specs in the code within the repository that’s being specified. So even if the how changed dramatically over the years, our answer is a clear “yes”.
By the way: Of course you can find out our responses to all questions at our Q&A.