I discovered the Joel test recently and applied it to my team. However, I but found hard to apply some points to my company since we are developing small chips with both "wired" and programmable algorithm.

5: Do you fix bugs before writing new code?

Since we cannot patch the hardware/software once delivered, we cannot tolerate any know bug, and a whole team of senior developer are building tools used for tracking them. This point should be for example "do you have 2 different implementations for each of your products, and are you testing test against each other?"

12: Do you do hallway usability testing?

We don't develop UI. This point seems irrelevant.

How can we adapt this test to the kind of development we do?

1 Answer 1


Joel's test is a good rule of thumb, but is not sacred. For example, the rule number 5 you quoted is a bit problematic. Yes, it is desirable to fix bugs before writing new code. No, these are not mutually exclusive activities.

There's a "revised" version that you might want to take a look at here. I like it much more than the original.

  • thank you for this pointer. This new list looks interesting, although I like the simplicity of the first one. Still, this one is adapted to pc software, and have the same prooblems regarding the testing needs ... Aug 28, 2011 at 9:13
  • link is dead :(
    – Rémi
    May 8, 2015 at 13:10

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