In the past few weeks, I've talked about testing, productivity, and code complexity in your projects. But there are so many more things that matter when you want a successful high quality project/solution. You can’t rely on a decent testing strategy, security awareness and rapid development to achieve high quality. There’s still a lot of other aspects in your project that you need to take into consideration.
When I studied for my Software Engineering degree, there was a lot of talk about requirements documentation, design documents and all other kinds of documents that you had to write in order to get a good overview of the project. But there were actually less talk about how to retrieve this information.
One of the first things you’ll learn when talking about domain driven design is: use a language that both you and your customer understands. In order to get all requirements or the system design onto paper, you need to understand each other. Do you see where I’m getting at? We need to step back to the basics, to things that was important even before computers and software projects; we need to be able to talk to each other so that everyone understands!
Previously this week I asked something a bit weird on twitter as you can see in the image below.
At a glance, this might be a very weird question. Why would you explain something that is so far away from their reality? Someone responded and said that they would just not do it because they would probably be killed for knowing too much.
Technology is amazing and as a Software Engineer with a burning heart for programming I tend to try (almost) everything new that arrives to the market but not everyone do and this is very important not to forget. Since not everyone is so used to technology, we need to work on the way that we communicate with each other. A couple of years back I built a website that had to do with cars and the people that wanted the website had no idea how the process of building a website looked. So I had to use analogies they understood, I had to talk in car terms.
Therefore it’s very important to actually step back and find a common ground between you and your customer. Otherwise it will be near to impossible to deliver high quality; you’ll never get the right requirements!
As I said in the start of this there’s not one or even 5 things that will ensure you deliver high quality, you need to work on all different aspects. Here are some concrete suggestions (that might seem obvious):
- Find a common ground between you and your customer so that you speak the same language
- Design the architecture in a way that you could talk about objects and structure in the application which the customer understands
- Use the right person for the right job!
- Write lots of documentation before, during and after the delivery
- Have small iterations in the beginning where you continuously deliver parts of the system for reviewing
- Do code reviews, swap people around and let everyone review everyone
- Don’t be afraid to ask your customer questions if you don’t understand
- Don’t be afraid to ask you colleges for help if you’re stuck!
- Don’t get used to putting work off by writing TODO’s in the code
- Take a couple of seconds to write a comment about a method or a complex code block
- Remember that we’re all human, everyone can make mistakes; help each other out and solve them together
- Stay on top of new/old technology and use what is best for the project/customer. If a newer framework or tool means more job, maybe it’s the wrong tooling for this job; even if you want to play with the latest toys
This list can go on and on, frankly there have been books heavier than my laptop written about each point in the list.
What’s your pro tip to increase quality in the code, project and customer communication?