Usually I blog here about robotics and microcontrollers so you might not know that I actually work in technical testing. But it is true, at least during daylight. So in my spare time I focus on my private projects. Consequently I do not blog about work but sometimes I stumble about something on the internet that is too good to not share it. Today such an event occured.

Working in test automation I have the chance see many enterprice software projects from the inside. My observation is that test automation turns out useful in a project ONLY if a project has reached a certain maturity. I always tell that at the beginning when I start working on a project but in the past I found it difficult to make this a convincing story. So I struggled for a while to convert this “observation of mine” into a more compelling “methodology”. Today I learned about the Joel Test which appears to be exactly what I was looking for all the time.

The Joel Test

  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?

Please check out the detailed article on Joel’s website

Every project I worked with so far would struggle in the test at items 5-9. I always felt that this severly impacts my work in test automation. I am confident that I will use the Joel Test as a consulting tool in upcomming projects. I hope this gives my arguments enough leverage to convince decission makers to work on improvements to the situation. I will let you know if it works!

Best, Mark