The Working Code Test

In today's episode of the Working Code Podcast, I discuss the infamous Joel Test for grading a software team with my cohost Ben Nadel.

We dug deep on what's the same – sometimes astonishingly so! – 22 years later, and what should be reconsidered or revised. We acknowledged that at the time Joel was probably primarily focused on producing a product that was a binary executable that could be put onto a CD-ROM and sold on a store shelf; and that the SaaS space has exploded (in a good way) since then. So we evaluated the list through the lens of a web-development, SaaS product engineer.

It was the year 2000 when he wrote the original. Just months after I graduated from high school. So it is with tremendous respect and appreciation for the work of those that came before me that I try to do it justice by giving it the glow-up it deserves.

While we covered the items in order, it may have been a little difficult to follow, so here then is our revised list:

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you deploy to production in a single step?
  3. Do you use continuous integration?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code? (where appropriate)
  6. Do you have a roadmap?
  7. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  8. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  9. Do you require extensive automated tests for critical path and mission critical features?
  10. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  11. Do you do hallway usability testing?
  12. Is the existing team diverse and does it value the benefits of diversity?
  13. Are engineers given the freedom to participate in ideation and the freedom to figure out the best solution, rather than implementing a rigid specification?
  14. Do you include accessibility concerns in testing and code reviews?
  15. Do engineers get face-to-face contact with customers and the support team?
  16. Do you automate almost everything that can be automated?
  17. Do you send your people to training and conferences?
  18. Do you set career growth goals for your people?


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Angsuman Chakraborty Angsuman Chakraborty
The Working #code Test (Update of the Joel Test)…
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