Small steps to a higher software quality

The following list proposes small habit changes you/your team can easily implement into your day-to-day work. Sticking to just one of these suggestions will increase your software’s quality at once without being too time-consuming. Approximate time costs are stated in brackets after each suggestion.

Please note that this list is far from being complete and it is ever developing since technologies change a lot. We’re looking forward to your PR to extend this list or discuss its recommendations.

  1. Functions and variables

    • Give your functions and variables a descriptive name, e.g. “currentYear” instead of “y”. [0.5min]
    • One function should be responsible for doing one thing. If it does more than this, split it. [max. 10min]
    • Clean as you go: In case you notice something worth changing and it takes less than 2 minutes to fix it, do it at once. [max. 2 min]
  2. Error handling

    • Write custom error codes with a descriptive error messages for your modules. [ca. 3min per error code]
  3. Documentation

    • Dedicate on 1h per week to writing/updating your documentation. [1h]
    • Organize a weekly doc sprint (approx. 1h) with your colleagues. [1h]
  4. Usability

    • Engage in hallway usability testing: Once a week let a colleague test some part of your User Interface for 5 minutes. (You’ll get the best results if s/he doesn’t know what you are working on.) [7min + Xmin for solving the problems you have found]
    • When choosing a color scheme for a GUI, turn your screen to gray scale and check if the contrast is sufficient. [max. 5min]
    • Use relative font sizes in CSS instead of absolute ones. [0.5min]
  5. Making developing in teams less painful