When Good Developers Write Bad Code

At the O’Reilly Fluent Conference, Sarah Mei from Pivotal Labs addressed a common phenomenon on enterprise application development teams—really good developers who unexpectedly write really lousy code.

According to Mei, research shows that there are three indicators of code quality: The technical qualifications of the humans involved, previous experience with the code base and good communication among team members. She says that the communication is the most important because without really good communication, even the most talented programmers will do a poor job of creating software.

She encourages managers to take steps like instituting pair programming to encourage better communication. She also says informal steps like seating developers near each other, promoting the use of IRC or instant messaging, or even installing a hard-to-use coffee maker can all improve communication—and code quality.

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