The Programmers Oath by Uncle Bob

The Programmers Oath by Uncle Bob

In order to defend and preserve the honor of the profession of computer programmers,

I Promise that, to the best of my ability and judgement:

  1. I will not produce harmful code.
  2. The code that I produce will always be my best work. I will not knowingly allow code that is defective either in behavior or structure to accumulate.
  3. I will produce, with each release, a quick, sure, and repeatable proof that every element of the code works as it should.
  4. I will make frequent, small, releases so that I do not impede the progress of others.
  5. I will fearlessly and relentlessly improve my creations at every opportunity. I will never degrade them.
  6. I will do all that I can to keep the productivity of myself, and others, as high as possible. I will do nothing that decreases that productivity.
  7. I will continuously ensure that others can cover for me, and that I can cover for them.
  8. I will produce estimates that are honest both in magnitude and precision. I will not make promises without certainty.
  9. I will never stop learning and improving my craft.

Requirements: The Expert (Video)

This video has been floating around for a while now. I found it hilarious. But in reality the more I think about it and the message in it the more true it seems to be. I wish it wasn’t true but it is. Pulling requirements out of users who aren’t sure what they want can be difficult, if impossible at times. It takes a skilled person to be able to design software for users like these.

Managing a large project backlog

Question on Programmers.StackExchange.com:

Do you have any particular style of organizing projects? LINK

Edited copy of my answer:

First have each developer look at each of the items and review/test each item to see if it is still an issue (it may work best to split these up amongst people). Then close any that are no longer an issue or have already been taken care of with other development efforts.

Now make sure that each are marked as either a large, medium, or small development effort. This is a very rough estimate just used to more easily categorize the projects and to help to pull things together. If everything is already estimated then it will help but don’t get hung up on the hours. Just go with a quick gut check. It often works to get the develpers in a room and just go through each item and use the effort that the majority of the people feel is appropriate.

Review each of the three effort groups and mark each item in the group with a priority of Critical, High business value, High Technical value, Medium value, Low value, and Never going to fix.

By this point you really know the list inside out and really understand the work that is involved in your backlog and you can start to really make a decision on what to do with the items. Take all the items that are marked as never going to fix and archive them out of your backlog.

Now when you schedule the items to go into your next release you can use the critical and high importance items as the core of your release. Review the list of medium and low priority items and add in any that can be worked on at the same time as the other items in your list because the developers will already be working in that part of the system.

The list of items marked with medium or low prioity can be used as a list of things for people to work on when they have a bit of spare time or as training for new employees. I always find that it is nice to have one person on the team during every itteration working on these items and helping the rest of the team where necessary. This way you are still completing work on the current itterateion but have someone that is flexible and can help put out fires when needed but is handling the issues that wouldn’t normally get attention.

One thing that we found was nice was that between each itteration we had a short 2 week period where the entire team would only work on items that were marked with a small development effort. We would focus closing a large number of tickets in a short time.

Standard project layout

When I am designing a project and laying out the architecture for it I start from two directions. First I look at the project being designed and determine what the business problems are that needs to be solved. I look at the people who will be using it and start with a crude UI design. At this point I am ignoring the data and just looking at what the users are asking for and who will be using it.

Once I have a basic understanding of what they are asking for I determine what the core data is that they will be manipulating and begin a basic database layout for that data. Then I start to ask questions to define the business rules that surround the data.

By starting from both ends independently I am able to lay out a project in a way that melds the two ends together. I always try to keep the designs separate for as long as possible before melding them together, but keep in mind the requirements of each as I move forward.

Once I have a good solid understanding of each end of the problem I begin to lay out the structure of the project that will be created to solve the problem.

Once the basic layout of the project solution is created I look at the functionality of the project and set up a base set of namespaces that are used depending on the type of work being done. This may be things like Account, Shopping Cart, Surveys, etc.

Here is the basic solution layout that I always start with. As the projects get better defined I refine it to meet the specific needs of the project. Some areas may be merged with others and I may add a few special ones as needed.

SolutionName

.ProjectNameDocuments

For large projects there are certain documents that need to be kept with it. For this I actually create a separate project or folder within the solution to hold them.

.ProjectNameUnitTest

Unit testing always depends on the project sometimes it is just really basic to catch edge cases and sometimes it is set up for full code coverage. Recently I have added graphical unit testing to the arsenal.

.ProjectNameInstaller

Some projects have specific installation requirements that need to be handled at a project level.

.ProjectNameClassLibrary

Used if there is a need for web services, APIs, DLLs or such.

.ProjectName

.DataRepository

The repository contains base data classes and database communication. Sometimes also hold a directory that contains any SQL stored procedures or other specific code.

.DataClasses

These classes contain the base classes, structs, and enums that are used in the project. These may be related to but not necessarily be connected to the ones in the data repository.

.Services

Contains any code that will perform CRUD actions with the data. It is coded in a way that the repository can be changed out with no need to rewrite any higher level code.

.Business

Performs any data calculations, business level data validation, does most interaction with the Service layer.

.Helpers

I always create a code module that contains helper classes. These may be extensions on system items, standard validation tools, expressions or custom built items.

.UserInterface

The user interface is built to display and manipulate the data. UI Forms always get organized by functional unit namespace with an additional folder for shard forms and one for custom controls.