Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fostering Software Craftsmanship in a Corporate Setting

Scott Dillman gave a talk at Agile 2008 about fostering software craftsmanship in a corporate setting. Scott defined software craftsmanship as taking responsibility, continuous learning, rejecting specialization, pride in quality work, passing on knowledge, and meeting professional standards (test driven development, continuous integration, coding patterns and practices).

Next Scott described 3 steps to evolve a novice software developer into a craftsman.

1. Evaluate the current state of the organization through interviews, surveys and metrics. Surveys can be reused at a later date to evaluate progress. Collecting metrics from automated builds like % passing builds, builds/day, build duration, fail build reasons, code coverage, code complexity. Track historical trends.

2. Educate via pair programming, centralized resources (wiki, educational content, knowledge base, moderated technical forum, book reports, tools and code repository), educational sessions(teasers, lightning sessions, tech talks, workshops), craftsmanship day, 10% time and on team mentoring. To get upper management buy in, highlight benefits, cite case studies, link to corporate goals. Upper management has to allocate time and recognize and reward participation.

3. Measure success by interviews, surveys, metrics, and performance reviews. Make sure reviews have goals that motivate and educate, are relevant, specific, actionable, and verifiable. Have the right people perform the reviews, do 360 reviews, and encourage and reward participation.

This presentation is available on InfoQ at http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Craftsmanship-Scott-Dillman