The Joel Test for SuiteScript Jobs

Alright, I’ve spent all week railing against a bunch of things I find annoying in job descriptions, which is not at all an objective assessment of a job posting. While I don’t think it’s possible or desirable to eliminate your own subjectivity from your job search, it’s probably time I include some objective assessment advice.

Enter the Joel Test for software teams.

If you’ve been around the software world for a time, you probably know who Joel Spolsky is. If you don’t, you should! He has an excellent body of advice for developers and leaders alike. (I have no affiliation to Joel other than being a massive fan of his work.)

In 2000 – yes, 20 years ago – he published a quick, objective test for assessing a software team called “The Joel Test”. While it has been around a long time, the questions are timeless and highly relevant. Joel’s version of the test is a series of 12 simple Yes/No questions about the tools and processes of a software team. Each “Yes” is worth one point; a score of 12 is perfect, a score of 11 is tolerable, but 10 or lower indicates serious problems.

Here’s my slightly adapted version of the Joel Test for SuiteScript teams:

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you make a build in one step? (Alternatively: Do you use SDF?)
  3. Do you make daily builds?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  7. Do you have a technical spec?
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  10. Do you have testers?
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing?
  13. (Added) Do you use SuiteScript 2.x?

​For the savvy job seeker, you can use these as great questions for the employer during an interview (or even before) to get a good feel of what your day-to-day will be like. Only you can decide how important each question is to you and what a “good” score is, but it’s an excellent tool for judging the fit of a job.

For the savvy employers, you can include the answers and score for your team right there in your job posting. The simple fact you’re aware of the Joel Test would give you massive differentiation from almost every SuiteScript employer on the market.

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