Thursday, 23 June 2011

Development : What does Quality mean? - 2

Continuing our efforts on working and understanding quality let's now focus on the other side of quality for developers and development teams. What we should do before, after and during the development cycle's is the bright known side of the coin, but to be honest you may be well equipped to write the best products, but quality is not just ensured by writing very good code, planning better, reviewing.. there is another aspect of development that one should consider, specially for development teams. As a developer in my career I felt the need of some of these several aspects which were just not about programming but affected quality in several senses and ways...

Here are those other things that should be avoided / done to ensure development sticks and values quality..

Enjoy Coding, Love Programming,Live Development
It's not the same for those who think it is there are big differences. Coding is about putting syntax together to make something do what is needed. Programming is more complex, it is putting a design in place to get things work in the way they should be.. Development is about bringing a lot of pieces like coding, architecting, designing, programming, analysis, testing together. If you think just writing code is making you a quality developer, you are wrong. Get your gear up for the later..

Find your blockers first
Many of developers don't know what blocks them from doing quality work. Over years I have come across so many factor's that affected quality of developers work from silly to serious. Years ago I knew a developer who consistently wrote code which had several review comments, upon asking we realised that there was a clock placed right above his desk that would tick every second, give an alarming sound every 30 minutes, this would distract him so much that he started to put his focus on it.. funny? Meetings, Noise in the workspace, sitting arrangements, external sources like people walking in and out, people calling loud, ring tones etc make it difficult to concentrate.. obviously long term they start affecting what you do.

Find your Rhythm source
Some find music to bring them to rhythm others just a quite place. Each developer needs to find his own comfort space, and this comfort can yield focused effort, in turn support quality in work.
Stay Put
Focus is important. If you cannot stay put at your work place, you are more likely to be distracted by yourself than others. Obviously you are going to spend time doing things than finishing work that would result in slogging in the last minute to get things done. Obviously quality is the victim.

Garbage Collection is not just for Objects, for developers too
Many of you from technical world might know this term for those who don't.. it is a systematic recovery of stored resources used by your computer program that it no longer needs. Developers if understand that they put in a lot of thought in several things and they should have ways to recall some of that energy , thoughts spent in right time to un-exhaust them. This is just not about taking a break from your desk.

Google is not the only source
95% of times when asked to the interviewed candidate on what is the source of his/her information I got the same answer "Google". If I was a Googler I would be pleased. But as a Technology person no more. If a search engine is your source of information you are starting from step 1 and drilling down to where you want to go. In general terms Google is a right thing.. but is Google the only source?

I remember of StackOverflow, Experts-exchange been the general forums I referred to, Java ranch and Sun Java forums for Java, Quora for general startup things, Mashable / Techcrucnh for tech news etc..But are these not important sources? I have a list of 80 Delicious items that I know I visit every evening. depending on the last update index. You need to find the right sources and should turn to Google when you need it hard.

Make Forums your homepage
Forums... everyone wants to ask a question and get an answer.. but tell me, How many of you really give that answer? the quality of a developer improves with his contributions to the forums. Just reading and learning without contributing is shit. You may not be a good writer.. but if you share you learn, you evolve, you would unlearn and you would re-learn. Have forums your home page. See what industry or technology is facing as a challenge.

New Technology is a mirage
I have heard form many that knowing new Technology will boost there careers and help them write more performing, more scaling, more robust application. I am sure if you think that way you have not tried enough. Moving to a new technology is good. But the first attempt should be making the current one be good. Most guys who I found fascinated to change architectures with New Technology without sane answers are the same guys that would give excuse of technology limitations to do something.

Unlearn , Relearn always
Do you? If not start doing this.. A long ago I learn using java.util.Vectors was the best way to manage key/pair values. Unlearn things occasionally to re learn them in a better way. Now I know it is not. There are better options available and can be used effectively. This just doesn't apply to technology, just generalise this.

Yet again, I am sure there are many more things that will help you improve quality of the development process and what you develop. Point is.. The most important thing.. do you have a WILL to be a quality person, a quality developer, a quality craftsmen?