Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Development Practices That I'm Passionate About

In response to Jared's blog entry: 'What Are You Passionate About?':

The list was already fairly comprehensive, and I generally agree strongly with all of the points.

Daily meetings are a tough one for me - I agree in principle, but I've yet to get down a daily meeting practice that doesn't occupy at least 20-30 minutes of my time. I've been in a SCRUM situation (as a remote user) for several months before, and that may have only taken 10 minutes. I enjoyed the urgency of wanting to have good progress to report each day, but the meeting always seemed to collide with my lunch time due to timezone differences, so that has probably predisposed me to negative associations. I want to believe in daily status though, even if it is a limited to myself and my direct superior. I think I'll put it down as a goal to establish as routine within the next couple of weeks.

Weekly status meetings is the absolute longest time period that I think a group of several small dev teams can go between syncing.

One point I would expand on - test automation - is that I'm passionate about automation in all forms. While I think 'test automation' definitely deserves it's own bullet, general purpose automation of daily tasks for developers and non-developers alike ALSO deserves mention.

As an example, our Hudson builds push an installer and database dump to a share location with enough information that new builds of our software can be automatically installed by a simple script that QA and other non-devs can run. (Yes, QA also tests our installer manually of course) This is just one example, but it applies everywhere. Just about any repetitive task that can be automated should be automated. I do think instructions for how to do automated tasks without the automation should be well documented, though.

I love having peer reviews for all code check-ins. Having had this as standard practice for the last 2 years, I will not be satisfied with any work environment where this is not mandatory. I believe it is an essential part of delivering quality software.

I may need to update this from time to time, as I haven't really declared a list of my own - this is more of a commentary, but at least it's a start.

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