Climbing the Hill of Higher Quality Software Development

Some signs we’re cruising up the hill:

  • Another team of developers on an Aigle project, none of whom report to me, are writing unit tests. Even without much support they’ve plunged ahead and they’re making progress. The best part is one of the developers is very good, but also very skeptical of new practices. His only exposure to TDD was a one day TDD seminar I ran a few months ago, so I assumed it would take more evidence before he really tried it out. Pretty soon all of the web developers will be running test first.
  • In an architecture meeting of all things today we ended up talking about wikis and figuring out light weight code reviews. We usually debate some aspect of our SOA approach, but this time we talked about real development practices. And I actually have developers excited about code reviews of all things.
  • After instituting Confluence as our wiki solution we’re seeing a much larger amount of content go up per day at least 5-10 new pages. We also maxed out our 25 named users license as well today.
  • Some of our mid-level developers are really starting to shine as they’re getting beyond the learning curve with java, J2EE, and TDD. One one project we’ve seen a dramatic turnaround with a developer who was able to really step in and lead while the tech lead was out on vacation including pushing through a difficult configuration problem. On another the tech lead remarked the other developer is able to just run with their own modules whereas even a month ago they still needed a lot of mentoring. The developers are really stepping up to the challenge of self-managing teams.

    Different developers have taken the lead on researching, piloting, and bringing in new tools from Maven 2.0 to the AJAX library.

The best part is just two years back we had about four java developers and twenty Coldfusion developers. A few of the Coldfusion developers had used Fusebox (a Coldfusion MVC framework), but most were developing typical Coldfusion applications. Two developers were doing unit tests. Some medium and small projects worked OK, but the large ones were pretty much all death marches with hundreds and hundreds of defects.