I came across the following sentence below.
"We got 11/12 points on “The Joel Test”, which measures the quality of software development within our company. "
What is it about? How does The Joel Test work? Is it really a software quality gauge?
What is it
It does not measure software quality, although some believe it does. In fact, some believe that it is possible to quantify software quality, when in fact it is only possible to quantify some criteria about defects. The test doesn't even fall into this error, and it's very simple. Basically the answers are "yes" or "no" for 12 items.
- Do you use code control?
- Can you compile it in just one step?
- Do you do daily builds?
- Do you have a bug database?
- Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
- Do you have an updated schedule?
- Do you have a specification?
- Do programmers have peaceful working conditions?
- Do you use the best tools money can buy?
- Do you have testers?
- Do new candidates write code during the interview?
- Do you do hallway usability testing?
Looking at the items we see that it gives an indication of the team's maturity in adopting some techniques and methodologies that Joel believes are important.
Anyone who isn't naive realizes that they can adopt all of this and produce completely deficient software. In fact, this goes for the adoption of any methodology. That's what I always say: doing it right is what matters.
Of course it is interesting to have some parameters. Lists like this help you think about it, but you have to know when to follow or not.
As a general idea, these are excellent recommendations, but sometimes staying below 12 is the best thing you can do. Trying to "pass the test" at all costs is silly.
Understand that Joel started his blog a lot to promote his company that produces tools for developers. A lot of what he says makes a lot of sense, after all he is an experienced developer having worked on what is probably Microsoft's best software (or was until it started to break). But he has a goal of his own with the blog, don't lose sight of that. That said, I recommend reading almost every article he's published. He has a genuine interest in improving the quality of developers.
The test also helps sell his company as a pleasant place to work. One of the blog's goals has always been to attract the best talent to his company. Which shows his entrepreneurial quality, he knows he can't produce good results with mediocre developers. To win over the best minds, he needs to offer what others don't and he needs to let everyone know about it.
So most likely the phrase quoted in the question comes from someone who is doing the same thing, they want to sell you that there is a good place to work. So they receive thousands of CVs and can select the best ones.
Don't take the test too seriously
There are those who disagree with him. There are people who think that more important things are missing and there are people who think that there are things that don't say much for the direct quality of the development environment. Basically, everyone can study the subject and make their own list. There are some variations out there (search in English for updated ). Author's own opinion .
Anyone who uses Stack Overflow Jobs (now defunct) knows that advertisers are encouraged to take the Joel Test, so it became more of a marketing tool.