The Rands Test

It’s hard to pick a single best work by Joel Spolsky, but if I were forced to, I’d pick “The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code.”1 It’s his own, highly irresponsible, sloppy test to rate the quality of software, and when anyone asks me what is wrong with their team, I usually start by pointing the questioner at the test. Start here.

It’s a test with 12 points, and, as Joel says, “A score of 12 is perfect, 11 is tolerable, but a 10 or lower and you’ve got serious problems.” More important than the points, his test clearly documents what I consider to be healthy aspects of an engineering team, but there are other points to be made. ...

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