The Alex Test

I've been reading Joel on Software's back catalogue, and he's well known for The Joel Test. I thought I'd write some additional tests for agile web developers. Naturally I've called it "The Alex Test".

  1. Do you use distributed version control?
  2. Can you build and deploy to test with one step? I bet you can build in one step. Can you get your software somewhere it can be tested just as easily, reducing your cycle time.
  3. Can you go from commit to production deploy in less than 30 minutes, including running your tests?
  4. Do you do an automatic build after each commit and keep historical metrics on your builds? Doing a build on every commit means that you may be able to track the origin of a failing test to a single culprit. Keeping metrics means you'll be able to spot when a build starts to take longer, or help identify twitchy tests.
  5. Do you have a bug database? Does someone own the triaging of bugs? Does the person who wrote it, fix it?
  6. Do you have daily stand-ups where the whole team attends, and an active product owner?
  7. Do you have quiet working conditions? Are they relaxed and flexible? Does the team look forward to coming to work?
  8. Do you have access to the tools you want? Do you have to beg for a virtual machine to run tools on? Do you have the flexibility to choose your desktop system?
  9. Do you ever have to hot desk?
  10. Do you use TDD and/or BDD? Do you have team members who focus on automated quality assurance?
  11. Do you have testers with a good understanding of the problems you're trying to solve.
  12. Are you encouraged to innovate? Do you have some latitude in the technical solutions? Can you embrace new methodologies, and happily discard those found wanting?

Alex Collins

Java technical lead and solutions architect in London for the UK IT industry for over ten years. more...


  1. Inbox Zero
  2. Getting Alex's Things Done
  3. 5 Tips for Unit Testing Threaded Code
  4. Testing - Pt 3 - Writing Tests
  5. Testing - Pt 5 - Running Tests



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